What are the themes of the short story "Hills Like White Elephants"? Can you please tell me all the themes???

Expert Answers

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

In the famous short story "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway, a man and a woman sit together at a station in Spain waiting for a train. While they wait, they have a conversation.

The main theme of the story concerns a subject that is never directly stated but drives the entire impetus of the conversation: the fact that they are going to Madrid so that the woman can have an abortion. As they talk together, the man attempts to make light of it.

"It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig," the man said. "It's not really an operation at all."

Later he says, "They just let the air in and it's all perfectly natural." He is speaking almost flippantly, to put the woman at ease, but there was nothing simple about an abortion back when the story was written. It was illegal, and it was also dangerous for the woman. Underlying their seemingly light banter are undertones that the man desires the woman to get the abortion so that they can continue traveling and enjoying life like they...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 624 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