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Hills Like White Elephants Theme Essay Rubric

Essay/Term paper: Hills like white elephants: the symbolism of the setting

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Ernest Hemingway

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Hills Like White Elephants: The Symbolism of the Setting

In Ernest Hemingway's story "Hills Like White Elephants" an American couple is
sitting at a table in a train station in Spain. They are discussing beer,
travel, and whether or not to have an abortion. The train station and its
surroundings are symbolic in this story. The station itself represents the
choice on whether or not to have the abortion. There is a set of tracks on
either side of the station, each representing one of the choices. On one side of
the station, the tracks run through a lush, green landscape full of grainfields
and trees. A wide river runs lazily in the foreground of some tall mountains.
It is almost like a paradise. This side of the station symbolizes the choice of
going through with the abortion. As it is now they travel all around the world,
drinking and staying in hotels, and seeing all the beautiful places in the world.

They have no responsibilities or schedules in their life. With an abortion,
they could continue their party- and fun-filled, although meaningless existence.
The other side of the station is dry and barren of plantlife. The ground looks
as if there has been no rain for quite some time. There are hills in the
distance that have a whitish color as the sun radiates on them. The woman said,
"They look like white elephants."(343) White elephants are known to symbolize
unexpected gifts, which is certainly what the baby would be should they choose
not to have the abortion. The barrenness of the land refers the tame life--
settling down and having the responsibilities of parenthood--that they would
have to start living when the baby came; a life that would be duller but would
have a purpose. The bead curtain represents the fact that once they choose a
side, to have the baby or not, they cannot change their minds and then switch
sides. Once the decision has been made, it will affect their lives forever.
The man wants to have the abortion so they can continue to have the luxuries
they enjoy now. On the other hand, the woman is tired of the wilder life and
wants the baby and to settle down.

Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. "Hills Like White Elephants" Literature and the Writing
Process. Eds. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 4th ed. Upper
Saddle River: Prentice, 1996. 343-46.


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We would love to take them to the Hemmingway bar, but on a practical level we thought that constructing a Thingl

ink map of Hemmingway’s haunts would be a great way to involve students


getting a feel for Hemmingway’s life, adventures, and travels

. The Thinglink map activity

would be investigated the day prior to the Unit and would include Key West’s home, t

he bar on Calle Fabrica on Mallorca, the African Savannah, Cuba, and the setting where our story takes  place: Barcelona.

Content and Lesson Outline

Day one: Context.

The Project: Foreshadowing the culminating activity, we would show a few examples of web-based portfolios, deconstructing the pages as a group to understand the key components: image, content, audio, and video. Collaborative Groups: There will be five groups of three students determined by us as effective, well-balanced teams. These teams will encourage students to work with people they have not worked with previously. The Lesson: Give students access to our predetermined resource library and have them

research the topic of “White Elephants”. Where does the name come from


What is a “white elephant” according to the different definitions

 you come up with? Collaborate and prepare as a group to 1. Present the information in a ten-minute presentation on Day two, and 2. Individually, demonstrate your findings visually, incorporating at least three media into the final work, considering that this image will most likely be the header picture of your  portfolio. Homework: Work on presentation and set up portfolio.

Day two: Speaking.

 Presentations (Working on speaking skills through general presentation) Each group of three will present their ten-minute presentation. Groups will be required to stay within the timeframe of ten minutes. Each member should have equal share in speaking in the  presentation. Homework: Written reflection

answering the questions, “What did you notice about the

content of the other presentations? What was most interesting?

Day three: Reading

. Read

Ernest Hemingway’s short story

 Hills like White Elephants

 in their collaborative groups. Focus on identifying the elements of fiction (setting, character, plot, conflict, and theme) drawing on prior knowledge of tenth grade literature class. Also, answer the question,

“What did you notice, what is going on?” As a

closing activity, students are assigned an element of fiction and asked to write their observations on the board. Before leaving class, each collaborative group member will be assigned one of the following roles for a literature circle on Day four: Summarizer and Facilitator, Word Wizard (unfamiliar vocabulary), and Connector (find links between reading and real world). Homework: Considering your role, come prepared for discussion on Day four.

Day four: Critical Thinking.

 With a critical eye, re-read

 Hills like White Elephants

 in collaborative groups enacting the roles of Summarizer and Facilitator, Word Wizard, and Connector. As a whole group, have collaborative groups present findings alongside one

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