How do I talk about how Hemingway's use of third person point of view in "Hills Like White Elephants" impacts readers? I need some help staying on topic by talking about point of view. It's hard not trying to use symbols, because this story has a lot of them in it.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The point of view employed by Hemingway in this story is called third person objective. This means that the narrator is not a participant in the story's events and does not use the first person pronoun "I" or "we." Further, this means that the narrator does not convey the thoughts and feelings of any of the characters, only reporting what would be seen or heard. The narrator can report dialogue and body language, for example, but not what someone is thinking if they do not actually voice it.

One of the most important aspects of this story is the breakdown of communication between "the American" and "the girl," called Jig. This point of view seems to be employed to keep us at an emotional distance from the characters, just as Hemingway's choice not to name the man and only introduce the girl by what seems like a nickname distances us as well. We are put into the same position, by the point of view, as the characters themselves; neither one can really tell what the other is thinking or...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 898 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team