This short story is about a couple arguing about abortion. The girl, Jig, does not want to, but the American man says that it is the only thing between them. The girl wants to continue on with her life of exploring the world with the addition of the baby, but the man says that it would take the world away from them. The man has experience in this, but the woman seems not to. She is reluctant, and does not want to talk about it any more after a point. There are many elements in the story, such as disconnection, manipulation, dominance, innocence, and irresponsibility.
In the story, the American and the girl are waiting at a train station and drink large glasses of beer at the beginning. The beer is put on felt pads. Felt represents the comforting barrier the alcohol provides them between the truth, the table. This may be because they are trying to forget something that they do not want to think about. The barren setting is because of the deadly and drastic situation the couple are in. The girl looks at the hills, saying they look like white elephants. This is referring to something that is big and important but is not being seen because it is white. The man says he has never seen one, showing that he denies that it exists. White also represents innocence, so the baby is innocent. The man does not see this baby as white, and innocent person, but only as an elephant, something that would require time and energy to maintain. The girl says that the man would not have seen this white elephant. This is implying that the girl thinks that the man does not really care about the baby or any type of innocence. The man did not see the innocence when he impregnated her, and does not now when he wants to kill the baby. The man says he might h...
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... does not see the needs of the girl or the baby. As he was coming back he walked through the bar room. He saw people waiting for the train. They were waiting for what he should have waited for, the right time to have the baby. When he came back to join the girl and asked how she felt, she said she felt fine, and said there was nothing wrong with her.
Throughout the whole story, both of the two denied that anything was wrong. The girl saw everything they could have. She did not want to think about it, however. The man simply does not want to deal with the baby. They chose to not look at the unavoidable challenge in front of them. They did not see the life and innocence of the baby. They chose to ignore the two choices, life or death. They chose to see neither the dry hills nor the lively hills on each side of the Ebro. They did not see the hills like white elephants.
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