The title of the short story "Hills Like White Elephants" by Hemingway is significant because it is the topic of conversation between the two characters represented in the story, the girl and the American man, and yet the conversation they are actually having with one another, almost entirely in subtext and with very few actual spoken words, has nothing to do with their surroundings.
The story opens with a description of the setting to establish place and, perhaps, to indicate the tone of the scene about to happen: Despite the hills in the distance, "there was no shade and no trees," indicative of a very barren place, wherein nothing interesting is growing or happening. In other words, in this setting, there is absolutely nothing to talk about—and yet the girl stares off at the hills, which "are white in the sun and the country was brown and dry," and comments that they (the hills) "look like white elephants."
She seems to be mustering something to talk...
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