General aspects

Ernest Hemingway’s story is constructed using the iceberg theory. This means that readers are only given a small part of the story, while the rest of the narrative stays hidden and open to interpretation (just like most of an iceberg is hidden below the surface of the ocean).

Though the story is devoid of plot in a traditional sense - there is not much action - you will still be able to identify some points which suggest a spike in the tension between the two characters, implying a rising action and a climax.


The title of the story, “Hills Like White Elephants” is a simile that seems to refer to the setting of the narrative, without giving too many details about the plot. In the story, Jig is the one that describes the mountain view in this way: “ ‘They look like white elephants,’ she said.”

However, the title has a deeper symbolical meaning, beyond being a reference to the setting. White elephants are usually a metaphor for an unwanted gift. The story suggests that Jig is pregnant and is going to have an abortion. Consequently, the title also refers to Jig’s unwanted pregnancy. 

Another aspect related to the title is that in the conversation about the hills the ...

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