In ‘Hills like White Elephants’, the author has extensively used dialogue and setting to address a personal and emotional situation. The short story revolves around a couple and one other woman at a train station. The three characters engage in dialogue to express different feelings towards an issue under discussion. The setting of this story is given as small campsite or a restaurant located near a hill and next to a railway station. The setting of the place also seems perfect for the discussion that the couple had. In this essay, the researcher seeks to determine how the author’s minimalist and obtuse approach enhance the theme presented in the story.
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Dialogue is one of the widely used literary devices that most authors use when building up a theme. The dialogue between the girl and the man brings out an emotional feeling between the two. It may be easy to say that the two are in love. This is especially so when the girl says, “I love you now. You know I love you” (Hemingway 477). However, there is a twist to this love that is presented through this dialogue. The man is trying to make the girl do something that will make both of them happy.
He is using love to get what he wants from the girl. He says, “And if I do it, you’ll be happy … and you’ll love me” (Hemingway 477). The theme that comes out of this statement is misuse of love. The man is using love to find her way with the girl. The girl reminds him that she loves him even before doing it. However, he insists that the act will be the only way of demonstrating the love, and that it will generate a strong bond between the couple forever.
On the side of the girl, her statement brings out another theme that may be described as reckless love. She is convinced that she is in love with him and doing it will not change much about their relationship. However, she is willing to do what he wants simply because it will make him happy. She fails to look at some of the possible consequences of such actions.
In fact, the girl deliberately fails to put the man to task about some of the possible outcomes of their actions, and the man takes a great advantage of that fact. The author uses their dialogue to paint the picture of how the American youths always make mistakes at the early stages of their lives simply because they are not willing to put to task the people who mislead them. Hemingway uses the girl to demonstrate this.
The lavish lifestyle that is common among many Americans is also presented as a major theme in the dialogue. At the beginning of the story, the girl tells the man, “Let’s drink beer” (Hemingway 475). The couple, through their dialogue, confirms the fact that they love lavishness and the fantasy of being able to own everything. The setting of the story also helps to present the theme. The statement ‘hills like white elephant’ is a simile. The girl could be referring to a possible pregnancy that may be the outcome of their planned act. What is strange is that she seems not to fear the hills like white elephants. This demonstrates that she is comfortable with the pregnancy should it happen to be the outcome of their action.
Hemingway, Ernest. Hills Like White Elephants: Short Story. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2014. Print.