Homework Help

What was Hemingway's purpose in writing the story "Hills Like White Elephants?" (For an...

user profile pic

flinstone | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 11, 2011 at 9:24 AM via web

dislike 2 like

What was Hemingway's purpose in writing the story "Hills Like White Elephants?" (For an author's purpose essay.)

Perhaps a universal message/theme the author is trying to get across?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 22, 2012 at 5:30 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

In a story titled "Fathers and Sons," Hemingway stated: "If he wrote it he could get rid of it. He had gotten rid of many things by writing them." I believe that Hemingway was trying to "get rid" of some bad personal feelings he had about being in a situation with a woman which was similar to that involving Jig and the American in "Hills Like White Elephants." I do not believe he was trying to communicate any "universal message" but that he was trying to create a work of art. A work of art does not have to have a meaning; it is intended to communicate a feeling. There are strong feelings dramatized in Hemingway's story. In particular, we feel great sympathy for the poor girl who wants to keep the baby in her womb but is being pressured to have an abortion. An abortion is an awful thing, regardless of whether one if "pro-life" or "pro-choice." The American loves her and feels compassion for her, but we feel his strong inner conflict. He doesn't want to get tied down with a family. This is certainly not an uncommon conflict between men and women. If not a "universal message," it is a universal situation.

 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes