Thursday, February 03, 2000

Hills of the White Elephants

I like to address the contrasting key elements in the short stories “Hills of the White Elephants” and "While I live at the P.O.” Ernest Hemingway “Hills of the White Elephants” is presented through mostly dialogue between a couple, an American man and a woman named Jig. The story takes place at a train depot in Spain while the couple is waiting for a train to Madrid. I believe the story was told in a third person, because the whole storyline evolved totally through their conversation. What I thought was unique in this story was the reader had to develop the inference from the dialogue between the American and the woman. “They look like white elephants.” The woman was describing the serene scenery outside the train station as “looking like white elephants”. At the same time she was contemplating a beautiful thought. The short story took on a flair in self-examination on the “woman” if she should or not have an abortion; however, the story has no conclusion. It left the reader with his or her own thought provoking conclusion.

In contrast to Ernest Hemingway’s “Hill of the White Elephants”, Eudora Welty’s short story “While I live at the P.O.” takes on more of a comical atmosphere of an early dysfunctional Southern family. This story was narrated in the first person. ‘I’ (sister) was used throughout the dialogue. I suppose in some ways, the dialogue in this story helped the reader conclude the main theme “taking sides”, ‘I’ (sister) vs. the other sister and family.

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