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Compare/Contrastfirst Impressions Of The Story Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants," With Final Impressions

2273 words - 10 pages

Compare/contrastfirst impressions of thestory Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants,"with final impressions.Upon reading "Hills" the first time, I imagined the setting, the characters but had a hardtime with the purpose. It felt like I was snooping in on someones conversation trying topiece it all together. I finally realized that the operation was an abortion when I keptgoing over the same line "It's just to let the air in." on the first reading. Another partwas keeping the lines straight, who was saying what now. After reading it the first time Iwas thinking it was the man who wanted to keep the baby and the women who wantedthe abortion to only be with him. But reading it again I ...view middle of the document...

On the second reading, I noticed that the operation was to "let the air in." That totallyconfused me, until about the third or fourth reading, when I realized that the operationwas probably an abortion. The girl seemed very simple at first, but upon closerinspection, I began to see that she had some gut instincts: "I just know things." Also, thefirst time I read through the story, I felt that the man was sincere in his affection to thegirl. As I reread the story a couple more times, and as I understood the implications ofthe "operation," I sensed that the man was speaking mere platitudes. Then I began todislike him.I enjoyed Hills like White Elephants. I have to admit that never having read anything byHemingway before; I was shocked that I really liked his writing. I found that the settingwas what gave the story its feeling. I did not understand any of this story the first time Iread it. After picking it apart on the fourth reading, I finally made sense of it. The firstparagraph talked about the baron, nondescript landscape that set the mood for the "notso enjoyable" conversation about to take place. The dialogue between the man and thegirl started out pleasant enough, even though the girl seemed a little melancholy. Oncethe subject of the operation entered the conversation, you could sense the tension. Ithink the discussions about the drinks were a way of avoiding having to talk about theproblem that both of these people faced. Throughout the dialogue, the man was subtletytrying to get the girl to make the choice that he wanted. They were having a great timetraveling and living the good life and that was all that mattered to him. I realized that theoperation was an abortion when they were talking about having everything and the girlsays it isn't ours anymore; "once they take it away, you never get it back." I also feltthat the bags in the corner symbolized the "extra baggage" a baby would create in theman's life. He told the girl he didn't want anyone else, he only wanted her. As the storyunfolds, we discover that there are two sets of tracks. One has a landscape that is brownand dry like death; the other has vegetation and water, the giver of life. Will the girlchoose life or death? They came in to the bar on the baron side of the tracks to have "thediscussion" but when he took out the bags, he took them to the tracks where thelandscape was full of life. I think he subconsciously made the decision for the both ofthem when he took out the bags.Ernest Hemingway craftily composed this tale of a couple pondering their affair, in thisshort story called " Hills of White Elephants". Their romantic laison began like many doas an infatuation that hopefully leads to a loving relationship. Hemingway illustrates thiswith the free spirited life-style the couple has lived, drinking, partying and sleepingtogether. Between line 30 and 35 0n page 317, the author brings this out when thewoman pointedly says , "'I wanted to try a new drink. That's all we do,...

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