‘‘Hills Like White Elephants’’ is a very short story.
Only about one thousand words, the story itself is comprised almost entirely of dialogue.
No doubt, the man and the girl are in an extremely tense situation.
She is pregnant and he wants her to have an abortion.
Although there is a situation, there is no plot; although there are words spoken between the main characters, there is no resolution.
The topic of their conversation, an abortion, is never even mentioned by name by either of the characters.
In spite of the brevity of the story, and in spite of the absences created by the dialogue, scholars continue to produce pages and pages of critical commentary.
Such critical interest at least suggests that the story is a rich, open text, one that invites reader participation in the process of meaning-making. A man and a woman sit at a table at a Spanish railway station, waiting for a train.
The other travelers and locals are inside the bar “waiting reasonably for the train.” It is in this context that the heart of the story, the deterioration of a romantic...
(The entire section is 776 words.) In ‘‘Hills Like White Elephants,’’ Ernest Hemingway reformulates and reassesses his own experiences in terms of male-female relationships and decisions about childbearing.