From a feminist point of view, Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants"
uses a plethora of symbols to convey the idea that a young girl named Jig is a typical woman dealing with a woman's choice. Although the word abortion is never used in the story, the reader is lead to that conclusion through the use of symbolism.
The story begins with Jig and her American boyfriend waiting for a train in the valley of Ebro, a symbolic use of the word "Embryo". In addition, the valley of Ebro has a river running through it. This river represents life.
There are many different phrases in this story that are symbolically used to describe abortion and the choice that surrounds it. For example, while the couple drinks beer, Jig looks off at the line of hills and says:
"They look like white elephants." " I've never seen one," the man said.
"No you wouldn't have." Jig stated.
White elephant gifts are gifts that people do not want in their house anymore. They give these as a gift to someone else, like the unborn child in this story. The couple is conflicted whether to have or not to have the baby. Jig saying "you wouldn't have" to her American boyfriend is her way of telling him that she is sure he has not seen a baby and wanted to have one of your own.
The "hills" are symbolic of the way woman's stomach looks while she is pregnant. They also symbolize the idea of fertility and barrenness. One hill, on one side of the station is dull, desolate, and barren; "it had no shade and no trees." However, the other hill on the other side of the station is beautiful, full of nature, and has "fields of grain and tress...