Hemingway employs both his plot and symbolism to further the theme of Doubt and Ambiguity. With only dialogue as the foundation for the plot, the discussion between Jig and the man is unclear and unresolved. In his minimalist style, Hemingway never mentions what the "it" is that the couple discuss as they converse. Jig tells the man that things are "like white elephants," suggesting that the baby she carries is symbolically a "white elephant" as are the distant hills.
Thus, the setting is the chief source of symbols. With the railroad tracks as symbolic of the divide between Jig who is romantic and optimistic and the nameless man who is practical and coldly objective, one side of the tracks has fertile land with vegetation while the other is barren. In the distance are the hills which symbolize the dissention between the couple. They possess something which is of no value anymore:
"Then what will we do afterwards?" [Jig asks]
"We'll be fine afterwards. Just like we were before."
"What makes you think so?"
In the end, the man says, "I'd better take the bags over to the other side of the station," indicating symbolically that he is becoming alienated from her.