Hemingway's use of the minimalist technique not only makes the story more interesting and more thought provoking, but it also lets the reader connect with the story. This style, the minimalist technique, is a way of only telling enough of a story to keep it moving along. This style leaves much to the reader's imagination and that is why reader's like it. The only problem with this style or technique is that some readers are unable to catch the hints and are left stranded without a proper understanding of the story.
First, perhaps one of the largest points, is the use of a train station. The train station and its surroundings are symbolic in this story. The station itself represents the choice on whether or not to have the abortion. There is a set of tracks on either side of the station, each representing one of the choices.
On one side of the station, the tracks run through a lush, green landscape full of grain fields and trees.
A wide river runs lazily in the foreground of some tall mountains. It is almost like a paradise. This side of the station symbolizes the choice of going through with the abortion. As it is now they travel all around the world, drinking and staying in hotels, and seeing all the beautiful places in the world. They have no responsibilities or schedules in their life. With an abortion, they could continue their party- and fun-filled, although meaningless, existence.
The other side of the station is dry and barren of plant life. The ground looks as if there has been no rain for quite some time. There are hills in the distance that have a whitish color as the sun radiates on them. The woman said, 'They look like white elephants."(653) White elephants are known to symbolize unexpected gifts, which is certainly what the baby would be should they choose not to have the abortion. The barrenness of the land refers the tame life, settling down and having the responsibilities of parenthood, which they would have to start living when the baby came; a life that would be duller, but would ultimately have a purpose.
In looking at this setting, the train station, an inexperienced reader may only see a change in landscaping rather than a whole plot and scheme. This is where the minimalist technique is as a double bladed axe. While one side of the axe may be very useful for killing, the other needs to always be watched to make sure you don't injure yourself with it.
As mentioned before, the hills that look like white elephants are mentioned to show that the child is also like a white elephant. In ancient times, a white elephant was a mixed gift. While on one hand the elephant was in fact very rare and expensive it was also very hard to take care of. The child is the same way for these parents. On one hand, the child is a blessing. While on the other hand, it is a hindrance to their care-free way of life.
As is very evident, this use of the minimalist technique is a very dangerous writing style. While it can sometimes add to a story, it can also make it impossible for some readers to comprehend.