How Is Hills Like White Elephants Modernism



Ernest Hemingway developed a storytelling technique by expressing less about feelings than was conventional. He encouraged authors to declare to the essence, using short, direct lines. The inventor of the iceberg concept and one of the most prominent writers of the twentieth century, Hemingway was honored with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 for his contribution to the development of modern style. Formed while working as a reporter for the Toronto Star, he thought that the absence of total objectivity causes people to misrepresent their reports. Individuals are too immersed in their own perspectives, political considerations, and feelings to proclaim the truth in an unvarnished manner. His point was that the inner world has too much of an impact on our understanding of the outer world.

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Modernistic storytelling in Hills Like White Elephants

Hemingway’s novels demonstrate this contrast between time, the way it develops in a story, and the underlying meaning, the manner in which the writer presents events. Throughout the core plot, we learn that the man is lifting two heavy bags. It is only when he hefts the bags that the man learns that they are massive — an unbiased, non-ideological storyteller could not be aware of this. The second narrative appears when the weight suggests that the couple has been absent for a while. Up to this point, the discussion has been conducted by the non-ideological speaker, and these intonations indicate that the narrator is a male. Hemingway’s authorial reticence is disclosed as the man’s failure to express his emotions accurately. The particulars enable the audience to construct a more extensive secondary narrative. The man’s eagerness to get to the train is suggested when he claims that he “couldn’t see the train” and also paces around the bar wondering about the people there: “all waiting reasonably”.

Hemingway’s understanding of time as broader than history is communicated through details and his employment of anachronisms. Anachronisms, like the proleptic and analeptic aberrations, in addition establish a secondary narrative. At the conclusion of The Hills Like White Elephants, Hemingway concentrates on a young man staring at his suitcases and recalling the hotels where they had stayed. This analepsis provides the reader with a feeling of the past. The unanswered question weighs on the narrative; the conversation is burdened with the consequences of the upcoming future. The reader is placed wondering where the pair are traveling to, both from the perspective of the trip and their connection. Their discussion is dogged by the burden of anticipation. Hemingway decides to concentrate on the man. The man’s remoteness from the work implies the inconvenience he experiences.

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Hemingway’s employment of external narration

In Hills Like White Elephants, Jig claims that things flavor like licorice. This irritates the man: “Oh, cut it out”. Jig is referring to the fact that everything lacks complexity of taste, or that everything has a bittersweet flavor, like anise. “Hills Like White Elephants” displays a behaviorist storytelling in which actions communicate to the intended audience. Jig wants to bring the conversation to a standstill, which we realize from the way she constantly turns her gaze away. She pleads with her counterpart: “Please stop talking.” This talk reflects a behaviorist story.

Hills frequently symbolize challenges that need to be overcome. The female Jig likens hills to white elephants. The white elephant is precious, but its upkeep is costly. In Thailand, the king would present a white elephant to a competitor or a noblewoman with whom he was unhappy. Keeping just one elephant repeatedly led to bankruptcy. A white elephant is a hardship, hallowed but undesirable. The man replied: “I’ve never seen one,” and the man finished his beer. Chugging his beer, as he responds, is construed as a disinterest in both the hills and what Jig is guessing. Her reply: “No, you wouldn’t,” means that she thinks he is beyond comprehension. He is not concerned with bearing a costly load and can spare himself the liability of an undesirable child.

Symbolism in Hills Like White Elephants

Hemingway similarly employs railroad tracks to denote parallel but separate paths. The tracks represent the relationship between the two protagonists, as well as the diverse ways of thought they have pursued. Both parts of the station symbolize their separate paths of life. When Jig looks at the hills, she observes fields of grain and trees lining the banks. She recalls life, not just the life of their baby, but also their love, represented by the baby. The abortion reveals the fissures, the conditionality of their love. The couple drifts apart. Their emotional detachment is traced through Hemingway’s depiction of the outdoors.

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