Hills Like White Elephants

This story was rejected by early editors and was ignored by anthologists because they thought that it was a "sketch" or an "anecdote," not a short story. Even today, most people are still puzzled by the story and it will take an exceptionally perceptive reader to realize immediately what the characters are arguing about.

Year Published:
Ernest Hemingway

“Hills Like White Elephants” opens with a long description of the story’s setting in a train station surrounded by hills, fields, and trees in a valley in Spain. A man known simply as the American and his girlfriend sit at a table outside the station, waiting for a train to Madrid.

It is hot, and the man orders two beers. The girl remarks that the nearby hills look like white elephants, to which the American responds that he’s never seen one. They order more drinks and begin to bicker about the taste of the alcohol. The American chastises her and says that they should try to enjoy themselves. The girl replies that she’s merely having fun and then retracts her earlier comment by saying the hills don’t actually look like white elephants to her anymore.

Access this and other stories by getting a free MacLane Library membership!

Also check out these other stories:

Looking for something else? Search our stories: