The other travelers and locals are inside the bar “waiting reasonably for the train.” It is in this context that the heart of the story, the deterioration of a romantic...
(The entire section is 776 words.) In ‘‘Hills Like White Elephants,’’ Ernest Hemingway reformulates and reassesses his own experiences in terms of male-female relationships and decisions about childbearing.
They are discussing a life and death situation, literally for the unborn child, and figuratively for their relationship.
Hemingway has set a stark scene at a remote train station on a hot afternoon.
He has placed his characters on a desolate train station, halfway between Barcelona and Madrid, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
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Symbolically, two train tracks run in opposite directions, parallel but never meeting. and the country was brown and dry.” On the other side “were fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro.” In this setting, the choice between fertility and sterility, between life and death, is clearly presented.No doubt, the man and the girl are in an extremely tense situation.She is pregnant and he wants her to have an abortion.The 1923 birth of their son John, nicknamed ‘‘Bumby,’’ compounded things, as ‘‘the baby's presence . Among the stories in the collection, however, ‘‘Hills Like White Elephants’’ has become the most widely anthologized and the most frequently taught.The story continues to generate scholarly interest and heated debate among students.Many of society’s traditional beliefs were shattered by the brutality of the First World War.The “lost generation” rejected their parents, their religion and their traditional roles.By examining one conversation of one couple, we can understand the themes, typical of the modernist movement of which Hemingway was a part, working on many levels.Hemingway has selected a setting that establishes a strong sense of isolation and reinforces the divide between the characters.The story bears clear marks of autobiographical inspiration, and Hemingway chose a rather odd time to write it: his honeymoon with his second wife, Pauline.The author would marry four times in total during his sixty-one years, and ‘‘Hills With White Elephants’’ reveals some of his inner conflicts about intimacy.