Hello, please help me to compose an analysis between 4-6 pages on Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants." I need to analyze a literary device such as symbolism, metaphor, irony,...

Hello, please help me to compose an analysis between 4-6 pages on Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants." I need to analyze a literary device such as symbolism, metaphor, irony, foreshadowing, imagery or another technique and discuss how this contributes to the theme. Choose only one device, and show how it operates in the short story. Posit a debatable thesis statement, and support it with specific textual evidence and quotations from literary criticism. Avoid biographical and historical information. Research is mandatory.

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many ways you could carry out an analysis of this story. The story's title and Jig's line, early in the story—"they look like white elephants," (describing the faraway hills)—present an example of symbolism around which the story operates. The man responds that he has never seen a white elephant. It is notable that the woman, Jig, sees the hills as symbolic, perhaps representing a white elephant (perhaps also representing herself as pregnant). However, her boyfriend, who is urging her to have an abortion, sees nothing in the hills (or denies seeing anything). His rejection of her symbolic interpretation of the hills suggests his unwillingness to embrace her pregnancy.

The setting of the story, as critics have noted, is also symbolic; Jig and her boyfriend are waiting at a station between train tracks. Many critics (see the source by Smith, below) have interpreted the main characters' location as symbolic. They weigh two choices—whether to have the baby or not. The tracks are symbolic of this choice. On one side of the track lies fertility (the hills), while on the other side, the land is barren (representing the choice not to have the baby). You might develop a thesis that examines the symbolism of the characters' location and what it means, building on literary criticism by Smith and others.

Source:

Smith, Paul. A Reader's Guide to the Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1989.

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Hills Like White Elephants

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