Ernest Hemingway's "Hills like White Elephants" is no doubt one of Hemingway's most superb work. It is full of literary devices which are brilliantly used throughout the story. The setting takes place in the Ebro region of Spain and has a plethora of symbols that upon first lecture, are not easy to depict. The Story revolves around the conversation of a man known as "the American" and a girl later on known as "Jig". When we read this short story as it is without analyzing it, we see the conversation as an odd one between a man and a girl regarding an operation that is never actually described and that she is unsure about having. However as we study the meanings of certain parts of the dialogue we begin to understand the true meaning of their conversation. We notice that they have conflicting feelings about the girl having an abortion. There is a type of power struggle between them where it is evident that the girl relies and strives for her paramour's guidance through this big decision process. Although Ernest Hemingway uses unclear and ambiguous language throughout this short story, it becomes visible what its true meaning is by analyzing the symbols such as the title or the power struggle between those two lovers. .
The title "Hills Like white Elephants" has absolutely no meaning if one does not read between the lines of the story. A white elephant is considered as something unwanted. According to an article written by Jake Stukas a "white elephant is a metaphor for an expensive possession that is a financial burden to maintain. Therefore, a white elephant was only a burden to its owner, consuming food without providing any useful service to its owner."(Stukas). The white elephant in Hemingway's story is the unborn fetus. The term is first used by the girl, which gives the reader a hint that the story will revolve around her. By using that expression she is trying to bring up the "elephant in the room" which is the abortion, yet the American doesn't realize it right away and he subconsciously uses an ironic term by stating that he has "never seen one".