The short story, "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway, and the novella, "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka, both contain covert alternate meanings that emanate from the authors' literary style preferences. The alternate meanings can be considered "hidden meanings" as they do not directly convey any information that overtly states the hidden meaning. The information that does exist can be interpreted as hidden meanings by analyzing other signs and implications throughout the ambiguous literature. Ernest Hemingway uses a literary style called the "Iceberg Theory" to convey only the information that he feels is pertinent, and leaves the rest to the reader to determine. Franz Kafka uses a style of writing that has a similar effect, and has been compared to a literary Rorschach test, which causes the reader to determine "hidden" meanings in his works, depending on what they wish to see or read (Link 4). Additionally, Kafka's writing in "The Metamorphosis" was translated from German into English and many have speculated, including the translator, in the 2014 edition, Susan Bernofsky, that the translation impacts the story because of a lack of English terminology to directly covey Kafka's ideas (Kafka 122). .
Kafka's and Hemingway's works are similar in that they both stray from the grander narrative. Analyzing different aspects of each narrative reveals information supporting the hidden meanings. Both of the literary works' hidden meanings also have many alternate hidden meanings that can change depending on the perspective from which the stories are read (Straus 652; Sokel 204). Another explanation to the wide variety of hidden meanings is that both authors, Kafka and Hemingway, wanted their work to be ambiguous so that their audiences would be able to argue different meanings depending on what they considered to be most important (Straus 652; Sokel 204).