Hemmingway's "Hills Like White Elephants"
Ernest Hemmingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" is not a story in the clasical
sense with an introduction, a development of the story, and an end. We only get some
time in the life of two people, as if it were just a piece of a film where we have a lot do
deduce. This story does not give everything done for the reader, we only see the
surface of what is going on. It leaves an open end, readers can have their own ending
and therefore take part in the story. A masterpiece of external narration, there seems
to be no focal point in the characters. One must only here what is said, not what is
thought by the two main characters, the American and Jig. Hemmingway's third person
narrator takes an objective position outside of the characters, thus providing a look from
an third person point of view.
The story told is that of a woman and a man during their trip to a place where
she can have an abortion. Everything in the tale is related to the idea of fertility and
barrenness. This main topic can been seen from the title, where "Hills" refer to the
shape of the pregnant belly, and "White Elephants" is an idiom that refers to useless or
unwanted things. In this case the unwanted thing is the unborn baby the couple is
awaiting to abort.
One can see that the story setting is in Spain, but one does not know the final
destination of the train which they are awainting. It is not known exactly where they are
or the time or date in which the story takes place. We do not even know if they really
take the train.