- Born in Oak Park, Illinois, on July 21, 1899- Both his mother and father were active members of the FirstCongregational Church and ran a strict household.- Hemingway wanted to enter the army or become a writer. When hisfather refused to allow him to enlist, Hemingway left home and beganreporting for the Kansas City Star.
- In 1918 when Hemingway volunteered as a Red Cross ambulance driver todo service on the front lines of World War I in Europe.- While there, he met and fell in love with a Red Cross nurse named Agnesvon Kurowsky. They planned to marry; however, she became engaged to anItalian officer instead.- After the war, Hemingway returned to his work as a reporter. He marriedHadley Richardson in 1921, and the couple moved to Paris.
• - Ernest Hemingway began work as a journalist upon moving to Paris in theearly 1920s, but he still found time to write.• - He was at his most prolific in the 20s and 30s. His first short story collection,titled “Three Stories and Ten Poems,” was published in 1923.• - His next short story collection, “In Our Time,” published in 1925, was theformal introduction of the vaunted Hemingway style to the rest of the world,and considered one of the most important works of 20th century prose.
• - In 1926, Hemingway published The Sun Also Rises, his first novel,which generated considerable critical attention. The novel firmlyestablished Hemingway as the voice of his generation, which issometimes referred to as the „„lost generation.‟‟• - In 1927, he and his first wife divorced, and he married PaulinePfeiffer. In that same year, he published the well-received collection ofshort stories, Men Without Women, a collection that included the shortstory, „„Hills Like White Elephants.‟‟
In the years that followed, the Hemingways established ahousehold in KeyWest, Florida. In 1929, Hemingway’s novel AFarewell to Arms was published. Hemingway’s fame continued togrow, but not only for his literary skill—his ‘‘extracurricular’’activities placed him squarely in the public eye. He hunted biggame in Africa in the 1930s and German submarines in theCaribbean in the 1940s, and after covering the SpanishCivilWar asa reporter, he memorialized the Loyalist cause in For Whom theBellTolls (1940). He also won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
• - Hemingway’s final years were filled with growing physical and mental pain.• - In 1961, at his home in Ketchum, Idaho, he took his own life with ashotgun blast, ending a decades-long literary career and a life filled with boththe highest adventure and the deepest depression.• - The legend of Hemingway looms large, and his writing style is so uniquethat it left a legacy in literature that will endure forever.
The relation betweenHemingways life and the story- Hemingway doesnt even say whether or not the two characters aremarried. He presents only the conversation between them and allows hisreaders to draw their own conclusions.( Because Hemingway did not have a serious relationship in his reallife. He is known to divorce his first wife after the birth of child. )
VocabularyBead:- a small usually spherical piece of glass, wood, plastic, etc. with a hole through it by meansof which it may be strung with others to form a necklace, etc.Reales:- prenominal (economics) (of prices, incomes, wages, etc.) considered in terms of purchasingpower rather than nominal currency value.Absinth:- a potent green alcoholic drink, technically a gin, originally having high wormwood content.Grain:- the small hard seed like fruit of a grass, esp. a cereal plant.Damp:- slightly wet, as from dew, steam, etc.
“Hills Like White Elephants” starts with a detailed description of the story‟s setting. Aman who is probably American and his girlfriend “Jig” sit at a table outside a trainstation in a valley that is surrounded by hills and fields. They wait for a train toMadrid.The weather is very hot and they decide to drink some beers. While drinking, the girlsays that the nearby hills look like white elephants and the man responds that hehas never seen a white elephant. Then the girls changes the subject and asks todrink a Spanish drink that she had never tested before. After tasting the drink, sheremarks that it tastes like licorice, bitter like all the things waited for so long. Theman criticizes her and says that they should try to have fun.
The girl retracts her earlier comment by saying the hills don‟t actually look likewhite elephants to her anymore. The American mentions that he wants thegirl, to have an operation, although he never actually specifies what kind ofoperation. He mentions how easy the operation is. The man says that thingswill be fine afterward, just like they were before, and that it will fix theirproblems. He says he has known a lot of people who have had the operationand found happiness afterward. The girl dispassionately agrees with him. TheAmerican then claims that he won‟t force her to have the operation but thinksit‟s the best course of action to take. She tells him that she will have theoperation as long as he‟ll still love her and they‟ll be able to live happilytogether afterward.
The man then emphasizes how much he cares for the girl and weakly says that sheshouldn‟t have the operation if she is going to do that for him only. Then Jig getstired of that conversation and makes the man promise to stop talking . The Spanishbartender brings two more beers and tells them that the train is coming in fiveminutes. The girl smiles at the bartender but has to ask the American what she saidbecause the girl doesn‟t speak Spanish. After finishing their drinks, the Americancarries their bags to the platform and then walks back to the bar, noticing all theother people who are also waiting for the train. He asks the girl whether she feelsbetter. She says she feels fine and that there is nothing wrong with her.
Narrator of the Hills Like WhiteElephantsThe Narrator of the story is third-person objective.That technique is also called “the fly on the wall”. The narrator doesnt tell us whatthe characters are thinking but what they do, see and that they say.The narration style is simple and compact.The narrator does not explicitly state motives, thoughts and attitudes.The narration leaves many questions unanswered.
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTSCharacter ListThe AmericanThe male protagonist of the storyThe American never reveals his name, nor does the girl ever directly address himby name.He is determined to convince the girl to have the operation but tries to appear asthough he doesn‟t care what she does.He remains disconnected from his surroundings, not really understanding or evenlistening to what the girl has to say.
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTSCharacter ListThe GirlThe female protagonist of the story.The American calls the girl “Jig” at one point in the story but never mentions her real name.Unlike the American, the girl is less sure of what she wants and appears reluctant to have the operationin question.She alternates between wanting to talk about the operation and wanting to avoid the topic altogether.
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTSCharacter ListThe BartenderThe woman serving drinks to the American man and the girl. Thebartender speaks only Spanish.
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTSAnalysis of Major CharactersThe AmericanThe American behaves according to Hemingway‟s rigid conception of masculinity.Hemingway portrays the American as a rugged man‟s man—knowledgeable, worldly, and always in control ofhimself and the situation at hand.when vexed or confused, he maintains his cool and feigns indifference.He avoids discussion of their problems.He seems to identify more with the other passengers “waiting reasonably” at the station than with his owngirlfriend at the end of the story, which suggests that the two will go their separate ways.
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTSAnalysis of Major CharactersThe GirlCompared to the American, Hemingway‟s overly masculine character, the girl is less assertive andpersuasive.The girl appears helpless, confused, and indecisive.changes her mind about the attractiveness of the surrounding hills.claims to selflessly care only for the American; and seems uncertain about whether she wants to have theoperation.the girl can‟t even order drinks from the bartender on her own without having to rely on the man‟s ability tospeak Spanish.
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTSAnalysis of Major CharactersThe Girlthe girl seems to understand that her relationship with the American has effectively ended, despite herprofessed desire to make him happy.She knows that even if she has the operation, their relationship won‟t return to how it used to be.the girl‟s realization of this fact gives her power over the American, who never really understands whythey still can‟t have “the whole world” like they once did.
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTSSettingHemingway sets “Hills Like White Elephants” at a train station to highlight the fact that the relationshipbetween the American man and the girl is at a crossroads.the station isn‟t a final destination but merely a stopping point between Barcelona and Madrid.Travelers, including the main characters, must therefore decide where to go and, in this case, whetherto go with each other and continue their relationship.
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTSSettingthe contrast between the white hills and barren valley possibly highlights the dichotomy between lifeand death, fertility and sterility, and mirrors the choice the girl faces between having the baby or havingthe abortion.The girl seems torn between the two landscapes, not only commenting on the beauty of the hills butalso physically walking to the end of the platform and gazing out at the brown emptiness around thestation.
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTSTimeThis story takes place in a very short period of timebut yet tells a tale that is much bigger than itselfHowever, a time period or a location does not need to be palpably and directly stated in the text.In “Hills Like White Elephants,” Hemingway gives only indirect indication of the setting.Never does he state the year. Hemingway writes, “It was very hot and the Express from Barcelona wouldcome in forty minutesThe time period is never explicitly stated but it can be assumed to be around 1927, as that is the date thestory was written.