In the story "Hills Like White Elephants", what do the main characters in the story look like?

Expert Answers
sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hemingway does not give details about the appearance of either character.  The most we are told is that it is an American and a girl, and that the girl was wearing a hat - a detail that says more about the time period than it does about the girl herself.

The reason that Hemingway does not give details is very specific.  Hemingway was a modernist writer who believed in simplicity.  Unlike the authors who came before him, Hemingway's style used a lack of detail and a lack of wording in order to get his point across.  This is known as imagist writing - the simple images and words provided are meant to convey emotion.  The emotion in this story is that of conflict, and of ambiguity.  The girl and man are at a crossroads and don't know how to communicate about it to one another, much less how to proceed.  That uncertainty is echoed in our ignorance of their past and their appearance - even their names.

Read the study guide:
Hills Like White Elephants

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question