Many times we install curtains in our house to keep light from coming in or to keep people from seeing inside. In the story Hills like White Elephants we see the main characters Jig and the man in a place where there are bamboo bead curtains. This immediately causes us to question. Why is there a curtain? What is hiding behind the curtain? According to Shmoop, an internet source, “It sets us up to think about boundaries, thresholds, and separations-all the issues the couple is facing” (Shmoop). An example in the text includes, “The girl looked at the bead curtain, put her hand out and took hold of two of the strings of beads” (Hemmingway). This bamboo beaded curtain is mentioned many times throughout the entire story. I think each time it is mentioned it bring us back and helps us realize that there is a separation in beliefs between Jig and the man. We see Jig having a very hard time deciding to keep her baby or whether to abort it while the man is pressuring her to abort the baby. At the same time the man is manipulating her so that whether to keep the baby or not is her decisions but in all reality it is his. The curtain between the two characters is Jigs wanting the baby and the man not wanted the baby. The curtain can also be seen as separating different sides of life. “It can also be seen as a homage to the other pastime that so fascinated him [the man]-drinking” (Shmoop).This is shown by the picture of Anis Del Toro on the curtain which is a type of alcohol. The man is not ready to give up the life he was living before.
I would also like to point out the importance and symbolism of the train stations and the luggage of the Jigs and the man. “Train stations, airports, bus stations, and ports...give us the sense of transition of being between worlds, between experiences” (Shmoop). We see that Jig and the man are in between life where they are forced to make a decision that will forever change their lives. Many times we find ourselves in the same spot. We must decide whether it is in our best interest to do or not do something that could alter our life.
There were many forms of symbolism in the story Hills like White Elephants and the more we see hidden meanings the more we really start to realize the sadness of the text and the reality of it. We can all sit back and relate in some way.
"Hills Like White Elephants" Hypertext." Virginia Commonwealth University College Of Humanities and Sciences.Web.09 Feb.2011.<http://www.has.vcu.edu/eng/webtext/hills/hills.htm>.
"Hills Like White Elephants Symbolism, Imagery & Allegory." Shmoop: Study Guides & Teacher Resources.Web.09 Feb.2011.<http://www.shmoop.com/hills-like-white-elephants/symbolism-imagery.html>.