The story opens with two lovers having a hot day and clearly at odds with each other. The scene depicts a place in Spain very near a train station which signifies a connection with the couple and where they might be heading. They went inside a bar and ordered a couple of large beers and they both seem at the edge on some issue they do not directly name but the apparent cause of trouble in what is otherwise a romantic union between the two. The American man was convincing the woman to undergo something and the girl was apprehensive regarding what effect this might bring. At the same time, her passive aggression points out to the dynamics of their relationship and how the man was illustrated to be nonchalant and the girl has but the choice of going along with everything. “I wanted to try this new drink. That’s all we do, isn’t it—look at things and try new drinks?” (Hemingway, p.230).
It was a life of devoid of responsibility and filled with gratification. The two seemed to be having the time of their life until this major event which evidently changed everything. It is upon analysis that we perceive that it is abortion that they are talking about. That one significant albeit unexpected incident that could change a relationship depending on the reaction each one will have on the situation. “The man’s telling Jig that abortion is a ‘perfectly natural’ procedure reveals perhaps better than any other part of the story the terms of the central conflict (O’Brien, p.20). The girl reveals an inclination to represent nature indicating to the hills to look like white elephants. The outline of what she sees may be conferred similar to the outline of a woman, perhaps even a pregnant woman for that matter. “They’re lovely hills, she said. They don’t really look like white elephants. I just meant the coloring of their skin through the trees” (Hemingway, p.230). The personification of the skin, referring to the same with skin denotes that Jig was looking at the outline more than as a part of nature but with metaphorical substance through figurative dialogue. This manifestation of symbolism’s characterizes how Hemingway was able to conceive an intense story that transcends the banal love story.
The girl was discernibly fighting with her own feelings on what to do with the baby. The man sees it as a common procedure that equates to his escape from a life of fatherhood. The girl, perhaps too invested on the man and his idea of the life he was supposed to lead, yields to his wishes in order to preserve the relationship that they have and to go back to how they were as both have persistently put it. The conversation inevitably led to their discussion of love with the conventional, and quite expected, course of the man assuring Jig that he loves her and that everything will be alright. More than this, the prospect of having the hope that they will return to the way there were was just too great an opportunity to pass up. The girl was according it as an act of selflessness to concede to the man’s wishes. In the end, Jig passively aggressively agrees in true womanly fashion and declares that nothing is wrong much to the relief of the American.
Hemingway, Ernest. “Hills Like White Elephants.” 1921. 229-32. Hamiltoncps.org. Web. 5 May 2012.
OBrien, Timothy D. “Allusion, Word-play, and the Central Conflict in Hemingways “Hills Like White Elephants”” The Hemingway Review 12.1 (1992): 19-25. Web. 5 May 2012.