For my blog post this week, I’ve decided to write about a story that we studied in the first week of the semester, ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ by Ernest Hemingway. This is one of my favourite short stories that I have read since I started my degree as I found the way the dialogue is written to be very intriguing, and also the way in which the main plot of the story is constructed.
The story takes place in a train station in Spain, where an American man and a girl named Jig are waiting for a train to take them to Madrid. As they sit on the platform drinking beer and waiting to leave for the capital, they have a conversation about something that is never mentioned by name in the story.
Much of the dialogue between the couple for the rest of the story is very passive aggressive, and you as the reader are left unsure at the end of the story if the conflict between the couple has been resolved. The plot of the story, which is only alluded to by Hemingway, is the fact that Jig is to have an abortion in Madrid, and that she and the American man appear to disagree about whether the abortion should take place.
I studied this story also while I was on Erasmus, and found it fascinating to discuss the ways in which Hemingway conveys the contrasting opinions of Jig and the American man towards the abortion through the use of the setting and the landscape which surrounds the train station.
I think that the story is written well as the reader is left to decipher the plot of the story by analysing all the minutiae which contribute to the narrative. This story is the first of Ernest Hemingway’s work that I have read, but I would be interested to read more of his novels in the future, especially The Old Man and The Sea and A Farewell to Arms.