Hills Like White Elephants

"Hills Like White Elephants: Unraveling the Layers of Hemingway's Masterpiece. Discover the profound symbolism and emotional depth in this iconic short story. Explore the hidden meanings and themes expertly crafted by Hemingway. Read now for a captivating literary journey!"
5.0/5 Votes: 1
written by
Ernest Hemingway
173 kb
Reportar esta File


Hills Like White Elephants pdf

“Hills Like White Elephants: A thought-provoking short story by Ernest Hemingway. Our review provides an insightful overview and summary of this classic tale. Discover the intriguing narrative and get the book to delve into the subtle complexities of relationships and decisions. A must-read for literature enthusiasts and book lovers.”


“Hills Like White Elephants” is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway, first published in 1927. It is regarded as one of Hemingway’s most famous and influential works, demonstrating his unique writing style and narrative technique. The story delves into a complex and delicate subject matter, exploring themes of communication, decision-making, and the implications of choices. Set in Spain, the narrative revolves around a seemingly ordinary conversation between an American man and his young girlfriend, but beneath the surface lies a profound exploration of their relationship and an unspoken decision that could change their lives forever.


The story opens with a vivid description of the setting, a train station in Spain, near the Ebro River, with “hills like white elephants” in the distance. The American man and the girl, referred to as “the American” and “Jig” respectively, are waiting for a train to Madrid. Throughout their conversation, they discuss an unspecified operation that Jig is hesitant about. The man tries to convince her that the procedure is simple and will make everything between them go back to the way it was. It becomes apparent that the operation in question is likely an abortion, and the couple is facing the difficult decision of whether to proceed with it or not.

The dialogue between the American and Jig is characterized by ambiguity, with much left unsaid and conveyed through subtle hints and gestures. Hemingway expertly captures the nuances of communication, demonstrating how people often talk around important issues rather than confronting them directly. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the couple’s relationship is strained, and the decision they face represents a turning point in their lives.


“Hills Like White Elephants” is a masterpiece of minimalist storytelling, showcasing Hemingway’s exceptional ability to convey deep emotions and complex themes through simple and sparse prose. The story’s brilliance lies in what is left unsaid, as Hemingway lets the subtext speak volumes about the characters’ inner turmoil and the weight of their decision.

The character of Jig is particularly intriguing, as she grapples with the impending decision and the potential consequences it may have on her life and relationship. Hemingway portrays her as torn between her desires and the pressures of societal norms. The American man, on the other hand, comes across as manipulative and domineering, trying to steer Jig towards a decision that aligns with his own wishes. This dynamic between the characters raises questions about gender roles, power dynamics, and the complexities of romantic relationships.

The setting of the story also plays a significant role, as the desolate landscape mirrors the characters’ emotional state and the uncertainty they face. The image of the “hills like white elephants” symbolizes the looming and burdensome nature of their unspoken decision, adding an air of melancholy and foreboding to the narrative.


  1. “They look like white elephants,” she said.
    “I’ve never seen one,” the man drank his beer.
    “No, you wouldn’t have.”
  2. “That’s all we do, isn’t it – look at things and try new drinks?”
  3. “I don’t want you to do it if you don’t really want to.”
    “And if I do it, you’ll be happy, and things will be like they were, and you’ll love me?”
    “I love you now. You know I love you.”
    “I know. But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?”


Q: What does the title “Hills Like White Elephants” signify?
The title “Hills Like White Elephants” holds symbolic significance. The “hills” represent the obstacles and challenges that the couple faces, particularly the decision of whether or not to proceed with the abortion. The comparison to “white elephants” adds an element of rarity and burden, suggesting that the decision is weighty and not easily ignored.

Q: What is the significance of the train station setting?
The train station serves as a transitional space, mirroring the characters’ liminal state. It represents the crossroads they are at in their relationship, with the train symbolizing the potential paths their lives could take based on their decision. This setting reinforces the theme of choices and the uncertainty that comes with making life-altering decisions.

Q: Did Hemingway ever explicitly reveal what the “operation” is about?
No, Hemingway never explicitly reveals what the “operation” entails in the story. However, through the use of subtle clues and subtext, it is heavily implied that the operation is an abortion. Hemingway’s decision to leave it open-ended allows readers to focus on the emotional and moral implications of the characters’ dilemma rather than the specifics of the medical procedure.

Q: What makes “Hills Like White Elephants” a significant piece of literature?
“Hills Like White Elephants” is considered significant for its innovative narrative style and exploration of complex themes within a concise format. Hemingway’s use of dialogue and minimal description creates a rich and thought-provoking story. Moreover, the story’s exploration of gender, communication, and difficult decisions makes it a timeless piece that continues to resonate with readers across generations.

In conclusion,

“Hills Like White Elephants” is a masterful demonstration of Hemingway’s literary prowess, encapsulating profound themes within a deceptively simple narrative. Its enduring relevance lies in its exploration of human emotions, communication, and the weight of life-altering choices, leaving readers with a haunting and thought-provoking experience long after the story’s final lines.

Hills Like White Elephants pdf