Short story “Hill Like White Elephants” question | Homework Helper

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“Hill Like White Elephants”

Ernest Hemingway

  1. The story is a conversation between “the man” and “the girl” while they are having drinks waiting for a train. The topic of their conversation is a bit of a mystery at first. What does “the man” mean when he says, “I’ll go with you and I’ll stay with you all the time. They just let the air in and then it’s all perfectly natural”? What is the couple talking about?
  1. What is “the girl,” Jig, alluding to when she says that the hills off in the distance “look like white elephants”? In this context, what is a white elephant? How is a “white elephant” different from “the elephant in the room”?
  1. What does Jig mean when she says, “Everything tastes of licorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe”? How does licorice taste? What is this taste a metaphor for?
  1. Toward the end of the story, Jig asks “the man,” “Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?” When “the man” does not stop talking, Jig says, “I’ll scream.” Why does Jig repeat “please” so many times? Why does she threaten to scream? What’s her tone and emotional state? Is she angry? Is she being “bitchy”?
  1. Toward the end of the story, “the man” observes that the other people in the bar “were all waiting reasonably for the train.” What does the word “reasonably” tell the reader about “the man’s” attitude toward Jig?
  1. The couple disagree about what coarse of action to take to resolve the issue in the story. Do you personally side with “the girl” or “the man”? Explain how a reader might sympathize with “the girl.” Explain how a reader might sympathize with “the man.”
  1. Hemingway is famous for his style of writing. How would you describe the style of writing in the story? How does Hemingway’s style affect the tone of the story?

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