The Prose Style in "Hills Like White Elephants" Analytical Essay by Brandi Woods

The Prose Style in "Hills Like White Elephants"
A study of Ernest Hemingway's prose style in his story "Hills Like White Elephants".
# 22734 | 1,269 words | 1 source | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Jan 12, 2003 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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The paper discusses the style of writing which Ernest Hemingway is famous for - the prose style. It discusses how this is a very purposeful and designed method of writing meant to achieve a certain intimacy between the reader and the story and a realistic depiction of the story in which themes are invoked rather than spelled-out. The paper examines how this style of writing relates to Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants". It illustrates how the themes of this story are invoked, symbolically and otherwise, and how things are left behind the narrative frame, to demonstrate the effectiveness of Hemingway's narrative creed, that less is more, and that what is best in a story is left mostly hidden.

From the Paper:

"One of the main themes in this story is communication, or rather the lack of communication. The story skillfully and painfully depicts the difficulty of talking about abortion. First off, neither character ever specifies the nature of the "operation". Secondly, they are constantly dancing around the subject through such small-talk stuff like the girl's comment that the hills "look like white elephants". Yet, Hemingway skillfully invokes the underlying tension through certain tonal shifts in each person's remarks, from sarcastic to earnest to resigned. For example, the man's response that "Just because you say I wouldn't have doesn't prove anything" invokes a sense of animosity towards the girl. Then Hemingway invokes a similar sentiment in the girl's attitude, with her suddenly sarcastic remark "Everything tastes of liquorice. Especially all the things you've waited so long for, like absinthe." Even though at this point in the story we don't have any clues as to the nature of this tension between both characters, we know that absinthe is an anesthetic, and that the man wants her to do something she does not want to do, something she hasn't "waited so long for"."

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