Hills Like White Elephants summary

Hills Like White Elephants Summary is a short story by "Ernest Hemingway" . It was first published in August 1927, in the literary magazine transition, then later in the 1927 short story collection Men Without Women.

The story focuses mainly on a conversation between an American man and a young woman, described as a "girl," at a Spanish train station while waiting for a train to Madrid. The girl compares the nearby hills to white elephants. The pair indirectly discuss an "operation" that the man wants the girl to have, which is implied to be an abortion, that was taboo to talk about.


Hills Like White Elephants summary
Hills Like White Elephants summary


Hills Like White Elephants summary

“Hills Like White Elephants” opens with a long description of the story’s setting in a train station surrounded by hills, fields, and trees in a valley in Spain. A man known simply as the American and his girlfriend sit at a table outside the station, waiting for a train to Madrid.

It is hot, and the man orders two beers. The girl remarks that the nearby hills look like white elephants, to which the American responds that he’s never seen one. They order more drinks and begin to bicker about the taste of the alcohol. The American chastises her and says that they should try to enjoy themselves. The girl replies that she’s merely having fun and then retracts her earlier comment by saying the hills don’t actually look like white elephants to her anymore.

They order more drinks, and the American mentions that he wants the girl, whom he calls “Jig,” to have an operation, although he never actually specifies what kind of operation. He seems agitated and tries to downplay the operation’s seriousness. He argues that the operation would be simple, for example, but then says the procedure really isn’t even an operation at all.

The girl says nothing for a while, but then she asks what will happen after she’s had the operation. The man answers that things will be fine afterward, just like they were before, and that it will fix their problems. He says he has known a lot of people who have had the operation and found happiness afterward.

The girl dispassionately agrees with him. The American then claims that he won’t force her to have the operation but thinks it’s the best course of action to take. She tells him that she will have the operation as long as he’ll still love her and they’ll be able to live happily together afterward.

The man then emphasizes how much he cares for the girl, but she claims not to care about what happens to herself. The American weakly says that she shouldn’t have the operation if that’s really the way she feels.

The girl then walks over to the end of the station, looks at the scenery, and wonders aloud whether they really could be happy if she has the operation. They argue for a while until the girl gets tired and makes the American promise to stop talking.

The Spanish bartender brings two more beers and tells them that the train is coming in five minutes. The girl smiles at the bartender but has to ask the American what she said because the girl doesn’t speak Spanish.

After finishing their drinks, the American carries their bags to the platform and then walks back to the bar, noticing all the other people who are also waiting for the train. He asks the girl whether she feels better. She says she feels fine and that there is nothing wrong with her.


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Questions about Hills Like White Elephants Plot

What is the plot of the short story Hills Like White Elephants?
The story focuses mainly on a conversation between an American man and a young woman, described as a "girl," at a Spanish train station while waiting for a train to Madrid. The girl compares the nearby hills to white elephants.

What does the girl realize in Hills Like White Elephants?
She knows that even if she has the operation, their relationship won't return to how it used to be. In many ways, the girl's realization of this fact gives her power over the American, who never really understands why they still can't have “the whole world” like they once did.

What does the white elephant symbolize?
the term 'white elephant' denotes any burdensome, expensive and useless possession that is much more trouble than it is worth. The origins of the phrase come from Siam (modern-day Thailand).

What is symbolize in Hills Like White Elephants?
The hills represent the pregnancy and the body of the girl. At the story's beginning, Jig reiterates that the surrounding hills resemble white elephants. Even though it seems like a casual and offhand comment, the writer uses it as a segue for Jig and her American boyfriend to discuss pregnancy and probable abortion.

Why did he save the girl in white elephant?
His wife died of cancer long ago, and he decided to do what he does best, which is to protect. However, all that he needed was a sign that would make him understand that he was still the man that his wife believed him to be. And that sign was Vanessa.

What is the moral of Hills Like White Elephants?
The underlying theme of Ernest Hemingway's 'Hills Like White Elephants' deals with the difficulties a couple, particularly the female, has in facing an unexpected and ultimately unwanted pregnancy.

What happens at the end of Hills Like White Elephants?
During the first half century after its publication in 1927, its readers had no doubt how it ended—the girl, Jig, succumbed to the man's wish that she terminate her pregnancy—and even denied the intensity of her initial resistance.

What literary devices are used in Hills Like White Elephants?
In “Hills Like White Elephants”, Ernest Hemingway is using personification and metaphors to paint us a picture of a troubled relationship between a couple who are trying to find a solution to a problem that can't seem to agree on a solution.

What is the philosophy of Hemingway?
Hemingway's philosophy is an absurd one, “through this philosophy the individual distinguishes that life must be lived with fervor, passion, lucidity and purpose since death may come at any moment” (Kierkegaard, 1993).

Does the man want the baby in Hills Like White Elephants?
The man had been upset at this, feigning indifference but pushing for the abortion because he doesn't want the child. Still hoping to save their broken relationship, the girl asks her boyfriend whether things between them will return to the way they used to be if she goes through with the abortion.

Who are the characters in the white elephant?
In the story “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, only three characters appear: the man, the girl nicknamed Jig, and the woman serving at the bar.

Who is the male in Hills Like White Elephants?
The American The male protagonist of the story. The American never reveals his name, nor does the girl ever directly address him by name. He is determined to convince the girl to have the operation but tries to appear as though he doesn't care what she does.

Does jig want to keep the baby?
Because of this she becomes a feminine hero who not only asserts herself but also protects her unborn child. In conclusion Jig grows during the short story and finally decides not only to keep her baby but also to leave the American.

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