“ hills like white elephants ” decides W r i t i n g

“ hills like white elephants ” decides W r i t i n g

Pick a Side: Life or Death?

Assignment: In critical analysis, your objective is to argue for your interpretation of a text. For this paper, you must argue whether or not the couple in Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” decides to go through with the abortion. You must prove your position through closely examining the text. You need a clear thesis statement announcing your stance (life or death) that will be the guiding idea throughout your paper.

Process : Either side is arguable. Depending which side you take, you must search for clues in the text to support your ideas. Support all your assertions with textual evidence either as direct quotations or concise summary. You should have at least three supporting examples, and explain how these prove your interpretation (remember, setting is relevant to the deeper theme of the piece, so you may need to establish the life/death binary). Don’t speculate on the text or add details that aren’t there.

You need an introduction, 2-3 supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. In your conclusion, you will want to consider the “So What?” question. Revisit your points to look at how you have proved your conclusion; then ask yourself, “How does this interpretation help to provide better understanding of this short story?”

Avoid discussing the story modern-day terms, such as whether the story is pro-choice or pro-life; those political opinions would not have been as prevalent in Hemmingway’s time. Your goal is to prove the final decision through careful analysis of the story.

Important Note : Some students confuse analysis with summarizing the story in their own words. Remember, I’ve read the story so I don’t need the events completely summarized. Obviously, if you are explaining a passage that supports your point, you may need to summarize the specific events, but do so with purpose. Merely summarizing with no explanation of why a certain event is important to your argument is not going to get you a good grade.


Medium: This paper must follow correct MLA guidelines; it must be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins, 12-point type, and Times New Roman font.

Citation: If you quote textual evidence, please cite it correctly using MLA citation. Also, please include a works cited page with the story you are using. Please refer to Purdue Owl’s MLA online style guide if you have questions.

Important: Do NOT use any outside sources for this paper. This includes all internet sources. Any outside sources will result in failure of the assignment.