"Hills Like White Elephants" Book Review by Rhapsode

"Hills Like White Elephants"
An analysis of language and meaning in Earnest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants".
# 102596 | 2,336 words | 1 source | MLA | 2007 | CA
Published on Mar 30, 2008 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper discusses how in Hemingway's short story, "Hills Like White Elephants", the manner in which the characters utilize language may be examined to provide and understanding of the difference in which males and females employ speech to convey and manipulate meaning. The paper explains that the American in the story seeks to cloak his attempts to absolve himself of responsibility for his unborn child in an illusory rationality, motivated by his selfish and contradictory need to guarantee the eventuality of an abortion, while also disassociating himself from the decision itself. The paper then contrasts the American's behavior to that of the girl's behavior, who attempts to reestablish a relationship that has been irrevocably altered by utilizing forms of dialogue that belong to their past, while also adopting a passive role in the decision-making process.

From the Paper:

"The dense symbol of the beaded curtain that separates the couple from the interior of the station is illustrative of the manner in which language is used in relation to the choice to be made. The curtain symbolizes the choice of whether or not to keep the baby, and each character's interaction with it is representative of their approach to the situation. The physical curtain separates them from the bar, a setting that contains their history before this moment, and is inscribed with language, the logo for a liqueur named "Anis del Toro", which the girl must ask the American to read and explain for her. She is reliant upon him to give verbal expression to the choice (he will be the first to mention the "operation"), and unable to directly challenge his speech, thus adopting a passive voice in response."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Hemingway, Ernest. "Hills Like White Elephants", in The Viking Portable Library: Hemingway. Cowley, Malcolm, ed. Viking Press, New York, NY.: 1944. Pp. 502-507.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

"Hills Like White Elephants" (2008, March 30) Retrieved December 06, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/hills-like-white-elephants-102596/

MLA Format

""Hills Like White Elephants"" 30 March 2008. Web. 06 December. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/hills-like-white-elephants-102596/>