An Analysis of Point of View and Symbolism in Hills Like White Elephants

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Point of view is the narrator's relationship to the world of the work. It is a metaphor indication the location from which the narrator sees the story. It's also called perspective. Point of view plays an essential role in the way we see and understand the story. The writer may or may not give details about what the characters think, he may or may not tell the story from the eyes of the protagonist. These factors change our understanding altogether and play an important role.

Symbolism is using something to talk about something else. Olive branch symbolizes peace, therefore a write can use it to hint to peace without even using the word itself.

The story, “Hills Like White Elephants” is told in the third person dramatic point of view. We do not know what is going on in the character's minds, we do not know what their plans are until they speak it out. This keeps us curious about what is going to happen next, the main problem the American and the girl face is that the girl is pregnant and they are thinking about having an abortion. Even an important factor like this stays unknown for a while as we just do not know anything else than what they say. The man sounds thoughtful and somewhat unsure about this matter, but he may be acting like that to convince the girl or make her happy that he cares, we do not know.

The story has so many symbols. The elephants the girl sees the hills are may be symbolizing the baby she is carrying as she uses the word often and is thinking about it. She also says they are white. White is the color of impurity and innocence, which are symbolizing the child she can have. They are standing somewhere in between Barcelona and Madrid. A train comes from Barcelona and takes her to Madrid at the end of the story. Basically, these cities and the roads leading to them symbolize the choices they have. Either they can have the baby, which is symbolized with Barcelona, or have an abortion, which is symbolized with Madrid. And the journey to Madrid may be symbolizing the operation she is to go through. The bags symbolize the big decision the man has to make. He carries them to the other tracks, this symbolizes the change in his thoughts, he wants to have a kid. At one point in the story, she looks around at one end of the station and sees green land and trees, then she says "We could have all this.".

The colorful vision is probably symbolizing the happiness the child will bring should they decide not to have an abortion. The other end is all brown and dry, hinting to the death of the child, which will come as a result of the abortion. They are drinking a lot of alcohol through the story, indicating that they are not sure, they have not made a decision yet.

To sum it all up, point of view changes our understanding of the story significantly and there are many symbols used, most of them being about the baby. The couple is unsure on what to do and are discussing about it. The symbols are not so hidden and do not require a deep examining of the story to find.

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An Analysis of Point of View and Symbolism in Hills Like White Elephants. (2022, Oct 06). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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