Hills Like White Elephants Essay

1695 words - 7 pages

Kimberly Armogan
Professor Hamm
English 200 F2
May 23, 2012
Paper #2 Rewrite
Life and Death
The setting, which is the surroundings in which something is, can be used in literature by authors to help them explore their theme in their works. In the story “The Specialist’s Hat” by Kelly Link and “Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, both use this device to show the theme of life and death. Link’s story talks about two twin girls, named Samantha and Claire, who live in a mansion with only their father after their mother dies. In the story, the girls play a death game with their babysitter, acting like they are dead. They say and perform all the things someone can do if ...view middle of the document...

This gives the mansion a sense that is a creepy place with woods that are nearby and the girls are told to never go in, this gives a spooky feeling like death is in the air and no sign life in the woods. Link also describes the place the girls live and makes it sound more eerie. She states, “With so many windows, Samantha thinks, Eight Chimneys should always be full of light, but instead the trees press close against the house, so that the rooms on the first and second story -- even the third-story rooms -- are green and dim, as if Samantha and Claire are underwater (Link, 3). The mansion is said to have many windows, so one would assume that the inside must be bright in the daytime. However there are huge trees surrounding the mansion and blocking the sunlight from entering the house. This make the house appear dark and spooky, since there is no light shining and the girls feel like they are underwater, drowning, dead. “Hills like White Elephants” takes place in the mid-1920s at a train station in Zaragoza, a major city in northeastern Spain. The train stop where the couple is located is described to be an image just like life and death. Jig looks out at both sides of the train and sees different environments. Hemingway writes, “Across, on the other side, were fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro” (Hemingway, 842). This quote shows what the character Jig is looking at, which is at the end of the station. The banks of the Ebro are used to say that in that area is a river with a beautiful healthy environment. Fields of grain and trees are used in this quote because they are considered lively and it shows growing vegetation, but when Jig looks at the hills she sees the opposite. She sees a dry valley, which is has no developing plants or crops; just an image of death and these descriptions ties back to the theme of life and death. One side of the train displays a lively environment with green land and the other looks very dead with dry land.
The symbolism used in the settings in Link’s and Hemingway’s stories both helps the authors with their theme of life and death. “The Special’s Hat” takes place in a haunted surrounding and gives off a sense of a creepy and scary feeling. The girls are told by their father to never go into the woods or in the attic because of what is in it. Link says, “They saw something. Samantha thought it was a woman, but Claire said it was a snake. The staircase that goes up to the attic has been locked” (Link, 2). The attic where the girls go to play symbolizes a place for them to escape the world and to do whatever they want, even play a game about death. The dead game symbolizes the girls not being afraid of death, since there mother passed away. Also Link writes how the trees block the sunlight from entering the mansion. Sunlight symbolizes life and plants use the sunshine to grow, to become alive. There being no sunlight in the house represents that there is no life in that place, only death. In...

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