"Hills Like White Elephants," written by Ernest Hemingway, is a captivating fictional story that is filled with hidden messages, themes, and symbolism. Hemingway's short story dates back to almost ninety years ago, initially appearing in a collection titled "Men Without Women" in 1927. In "Hills Like White Elephants," the reader finds themselves eavesdropping in on a younger man and woman communicating at a train station in Zaragosa, Spain. Focusing on the dialogue between the girl "Jig" and the man identified as "The American," conflict begins to arise and brings the reader to the conclusion that the couple is dealing with the burdensome obstacle of unplanned pregnancy. Many different themes such as one's choices and the consequences that follow, doubt and ambiguity, as well as the relationship between man and woman develop throughout the story. Hemingway also exhibits various examples of symbolism including the attention to detail description of the scenery surrounding the station, the white hills in the background, and the train station itself. Evidently, Hemingway refuses to provide any minor details in his work, and instead presents the reader minor clues and symbols to help establish a more in depth understanding and profound meaning. .
A distinct and perhaps the most obvious ongoing theme in "Hills Like White Elephants" is that of one's choices and it's corresponding consequences. Jig has become pregnant, and the unmarried couple is at a crossroads in determining what would be the best possible solution for the situation at hand. The American wants Jig to have an abortion but tells her she does not have to go through with it if she doesn't want to, though believes it would be for the best. The thought of being responsibility-free appeals to The American, as he will do or say almost anything to convince the girl to get the operation.