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"Hills like elephants" is a story that exemplifies the human understanding of the factors in life that epitomise an illusion. They are characteristically the specific factors that impede the human nature of innocence especially over the mannerisms of observing and intellectualising what life may bring forth. What may be a mistake or innocence to an individual might be contrary to the belief of another. This is particularly the summary of the story. There are actually many themes that can be drawn from the story. For instance, there is the theme of having the courage and determination to face the future. The future may be bleak, but it is always very crucial that one takes firm steps in order to overcome any challenge that may come on the way.
The characters who explore into the story are determined and careful to employ every aspect that shows how one can be challenged to face the challenges that may unexpectedly become way-hurdles. In the story, we find one of the characters called Jig and the American travelling in the European countries, moving from one hotel to another looking for pleasure and leisure. At one of the places named Zaragoza, Jig exposes her dissatisfaction of the nature in which they are travelling from one place to another. She is actually expecting a child. Zaragoza is actually symbolic in nature. It portrays or represents a time of truth. It is a moment where they have to involve themselves in the making of decisions that actually affect their lives. They are to confront what life has upon their future lives. She has an urge to have a baby and thus settle with her family. According to her, they have to abandon the nomadic life that they are actually chasing after. At one point, a thought of abortion crosses her mind. The fact behind this thought is that she feels like aborting so that they can be able to continue with their adventurous life. Jig goes an extra mile and tries to persuade the American.
She wants to actually tell him that they are going in a wrong direction. They therefore have to watch over their lives so that they don't mess-up thinking they are right. Jig is challenged at this instance because of the fact that she has to face the stubborn American who sees no problem in their nomadic life. She is actually struggling to have a better future as a family. The only problem that she involves herself in is that fact that she has to always console him for everything that she has to do, even when she wants to try out on some new drinks. The American dismisses her attempts and questions even including a try to have an abortion. He encourages her to keep o trying new drinks and forget about establishing a family and bringing up a child. For example, there are several instances that show that she fails in becoming assertive to herself. When she mentions Anis del Toro, she says, "Could we try it?" later, she says "should we have another beer?" towards the end of the story, we find her saying, "could we have another beer?"
The American keeps on pressing the issue that concerned abortion. This stresses her so much that we find her saying, "would you please please please please please stop talking?" the American asks her how she feels but she again says that there is nothing wrong with her. She says, "I feel fine" at this point, the reader is left at suspense. We find that she has a lot of difficulty in handling issues that pertains their future lives with the husband. There are various aspects of characterisation that have been employed by the writer of the story. They help to bring out the various themes and lessons that are perceived to be implanted in the flow of the story. Some of these characterisations are:
The characters in the story help to relay the message and theme of the story. Jig is a single lady who is engaged with an American man whose name we are not told. They seem to be in a fresh relationship where they have not even established a family. They help to portray and develop the theme of facing the challenges of the future. They are establishing a family, yet with so many differences that exist between their individual plans.
The story is established in a setting that exemplifies the various issues that young people undergo in life, for instance love for leisure and pleasure amidst travelling. The distant hills in the Spanish country are a clear atmosphere that exemplifies the distant struggles that young people have to embrace in their plans to arrive at the wishes.
In conclusion, there are various instances in which symbolism has been embraced in the story. Many things and events are symbolic in nature. The white elephants resembles an enlargement of a child whop is yet to be born. He or she is soon to become Jig's baby. As it resembles a child who is yet to be born, it exemplifies a useless object that is soon to be dependent on the owner. The railway lines that run parallel to one another resemble the nature of the relationship that exists between Jig and the American. Moreover, Anis del Toro is a specific symbol of happiness that the American shows to Jig, though it fails to manifest.