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What is the point of view in "Hills Like White Elephants"?

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mamani | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 21, 2011 at 12:47 AM via web

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What is the point of view in "Hills Like White Elephants"?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 21, 2011 at 1:41 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that the third person narrative point of view is used in a stellar manner in Hemingway's short story.  One of the elements that makes the third person point of view so effective is that it helps to recreate a moment in time.  In his book, Testaments Betrayed, Milan Kundera suggests that part of what makes this story so powerful is that the third person point of view is mastered to recreate a conversation in time.  If one reflects on this, it is a difficult task to accomplish for every time we consider our own past and a past moment in time, it turns out that our own point of view colors the event, making exact recreation impossible.  At the same time, the web of language is one where a moment can be hinted at or intimated, but never fully recreated so that another person can recognized exactly the moment as the characters involved.  Hemingway's style of the third person narration is one where "the tip of the iceberg" is exposed, meaning that there is much more present in the conversation and in the moment, but the point of view allows the reader to fully explore this "tip" while recognizing that much more exists and much more is present.  The point of view helps to deliver the themes in a strong manner.  In doing so, we, as the reader, receive an almost "bird's eye view" of what is happening, whereby we understand the situation in perfect detail and are left to our own choices for interpretation, just as the main characters are left to their own choices and the implications that result from the predicament.

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lexxilumberjack | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 25, 2012 at 1:07 AM (Answer #2)

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Its objective. not third person.

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