Hills Like White Elephants Vs. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

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Hills like White Elephants vs. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

This paper provides a comparison between two of the most important short stories, written by Ernest Hemingway, one of the most influential authors of his time. The two stories selected are: “Hills like White Elephants” and “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”

What is critical in “Hills like White Elephants” as in Hemingway's fiction generally is the ironic gap between appearance and reality. The seemingly petty conversation here about hills and drinks and an unspecified operation is in actuality an unarticulated but decisive struggle over whether they continue to live the sterile, self-indulgent, decadent life preferred by the man or elect to have the child that Jig is carrying and settle down to a conventional but, in Jig's view, rewarding, fruitful, and peaceful life (Benson, 52).

One particularly interesting aspect of Hemingway's uncompromising dissection of the poverty of the modern world in this story is the juxtaposition of reason and emotion or imagination. The impassive, documentary style of “Hills Like White Elephants” is typical of much of Hemingway's fiction. It manifests the care, restraint, intensity, and control, the economy and precision that characterize his best prose (Benson, 53). The author seems to be indifferent both to the characters and to the reader; he pretends to be merely an objective observer content to report without comment the words and actions of these two people. He has virtually no access to their thoughts and does not even interpret the emotional quality of their words or movements by using adverbs; he simply records. Hemingway believed in a precise, naturalistic rendering of the surface; he insisted on presenting things truly (Benson, 54).

As was indicated earlier, Hemingway's ironic technique plays an important role in this story. The very use of a clear and economical style to reveal a relationship that is troubled ...
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