Hemingway’s “Hills like White Elephants”
The operation that Jig is confronting is an abortion. The man says to Jig “I know you wouldn’t
mind it. It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in,” “That’s the only thing that bothers us.
It’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy,” and “but I don’t want anybody but you.” When Jig
looks at the hills as the sun shone on them and described them as the colour of white elephants,
she was comparing them to the colour of the baby’s skin. It becomes risky physically because
she drinks often and that would harm the baby. Also, the intense amount of travelling will tire
her out with the baby inside her. The emotional risk is the constant thought of the baby and the
Not surprised that it was written by a man because Hemingway made the man based on the
concept of masculinity – making him assertive, in-control of the situation they’re in. While he
makes the female unassertive and indecisive. She’s uncertain if she wants the operation and
relies on the man for direction.
The hills in the story represent Jig’s split decision to keep or abort the baby. The white hills,
representing life and the darkened valleys representing death, having Jig constantly contemplate about the decision between them. Comparing the two landscapes, the white hills
are beautiful, but the barrened valleys are the opposite.
We identify with Jig more readily because we slowly get to notice how she feels about the
operation and feel her emotions as she observes the landscape. As she compares the landscape
with her baby, we slowly understand