Jenny asks…

What is the meaning of the title of the short story "The Hills Like Elephants"?

We read a short story for AP English and its called "The Hills Like Elephants" and I understand its about a couple talking bout abortion. But why did they use that title? Whats the meaning behind it?

landscapeliving answers:

Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

What’s Up With the Title?

The title is a huge focus for most people interpreting this story, in large part because the title is layered into the story in various places. First, we should notice that the title is a simile (a comparison of two or more things using "as" or "like"). This suggests that simile will be involved in the story. The simile is ‘free-floating’ in the title. We don’t really have enough information to understand why it is significant, even though it might bring to mind an image of white hills, maybe with trunk and tusks, possibly charging through an exotic landscape. The title doesn’t really give us a clue that we will be entering a story which is essentially about a man and a woman discussing the future of their unborn child and their own futures.

Let's look at the word, hills. We all have a certain image when we hear this word. Maybe the hills you imagine are green and rolling, or maybe they are brown and dusty. In this case "hills" means "mountains," though "hill" is often used to refer to a geologic formation that isn’t quite as high as a mountain. A hill is any raised mound of earth, or mound of chocolate pudding, or of whatever. As readers and critics of this story often note, a pregnant woman’s stomach can also be consider a hill.

You could also think of "hills" figuratively, as a barrier that isn't easily crossed or overcome. Among other things, this figurative meaning could apply to the inability of the two people to communicate in such a way as to come to an agreement with which they both feel comfortable.

So, now let’s look at what the hills are like. We can think of the literal definition of "white elephant." Since elephants are usually grey, we can assume that white or albino elephants are rare, but they do exist.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a white elephant has a more figurative meaning: "A burdensome or costly possession. Also, an object, scheme, etc., considered to be without use or value." It’s easy to see how this could be discussed in context of an unplanned pregnancy that at least one of the parents wants to terminate.

We should also consider whose simile this is. It’s Jig’s. The fact that she speaks the title, in some ways, suggests that the focus of the story is on her.



Study Guides:

Chris asks…

Which is an accurate description of the physical characteristics of Poland?

Which is an accurate description of the physical characteristics of Poland?

a.It is covered with thick forests, and it has large reserves of coal, petroleum, and natural gas.
b.its landscape is dominated by plateaus, mountains, and high ridges, and it has large deposits of sulfur and copper in the northeast.
c.It is mostly flat with fertile soil except in the east and northeast, and the mountainous region in the south has large deposits of coal and copper.
d.Its fertile soil is found only along riverbanks, and its mountainous region in the northwest has few mineral resources.

landscapeliving answers:

Poland has two main regions—the Polish Plain and the Southern Uplands and Mountains. They run roughly east-west and become progressively higher from north to south.

The Polish Plain covers the northern two-thirds of the country. It is part of the Great European Plain, which spans the continent from France to Russia. Making up the plain are thick deposits of debris left by retreating glaciers during the last Ice Age. Some of the land is marshy and poorly drained.

Lagoons, sandy beaches, and dunes fringe much of the Baltic coast. Inland, the surface rises to a broad tract of level to rolling land, sometimes called the Baltic Heights. It contains numerous lakes, moraines, and glacial hills, which in places rise to elevations of 1,000 feet (300 m). The southern part of the plain spans central Poland and is a wide, almost level lowland. The lowest point in Poland is near Elbl?g in the north of the country at 7 feet (2 m) below sea level.

The Southern Uplands and Mountains cover the southern third of Poland. Except for the Carpathian Mountains, the region is part of an old, worn-down, mountainous belt, sometimes called the Hercynian Uplands. It is a region of escarpments, mountain ranges, low-lying plateaus, and partly enclosed basins. Chief among surface features are the Sudeten Mountains, in the southwest along the Polish-Czech border, and the adjacent coal-rich Silesian Basin. Other features include the Swi?tokrzyskie Mountains and the Lubelska Upland.

The Carpathians are a chain of young folded mountains stretching along the Polish-Slovakian border in the southeast. They include the Beskid ranges and the rugged Tatra Mountains. Rysy, the highest mountain in Poland, rises 8,199 feet (2,499 m) in the Tatras.

Michael asks…

Why is the golf ground hilly and why are there some trees planted in rows?

moreover, if there would not have been trees the players could see to a larger extent and it would not have disturbed them. anyway, I do not know whether that helps the players or not.

landscapeliving answers:

Course design has gone through several phases. Initially, courses were just layed out using the contours of the land. Essentially putting a hole where nature allowed a hole to be. The very oldest courses in Europe are this way.

The next generation of course designers built courses that they dreamed up. No amount of land, sea, or rock would prevent them from building these courses. So, using the new tool called a bulldozer, massive amounts of land could be moved to build an artificial landscape as the designer saw fit.

Phase three is the more modern "enlightened" approach where once again minimal impact on nature is encouraged, while some 'manipulation" here and there is also needed in order to make the course fair and visually appealing.

Answering your question directly.

Hills provide both a penalty and reward depending where you hit the ball. They allow drainage, vary the nature of the course and are more natural.

Trees "frame" a hole and as noted before, prevent errant shots from players on parallel fairways. BTW parallel fairways were invented as part of phase II of design in order in pack a course into the smallest space. Traditional courses are loops and have no parallel holes.

Trees are also good places to take a wizz, and are also good wind breaks.

Paul asks…

Whats the difference between social and physical setting?

Sorry if this sounds a bit stupid, but i've totally blanked and i cant seem to find anything on search.?

landscapeliving answers:

Physical setting is the houses, landscape, climate and other physical features around you. For example, the physical feeatures of my town are rolling hills, large to medium sized homes, alot of pavement and industry and a warm climate.

Social setting is the people and services available to you in a certain area. Your friends, family and the community is social setting. Social setting can also be defined as middle class, poor, upper class and other definitions based on wealth.

While physical deals with the actual things around you, social deals with the people inhabiting your area and the people who you associate with.

George asks…

How can you make a model home for a school project that is energy efficient.?

The model is supposed to use little energy to keep warm and take advantage of solar radiation to cut down energy use. I thought of geothermal energy as a previous example, but I don't know how to apply it into a model house meant for school.

landscapeliving answers:

If you bury most of it in a hill, you will have the advantages of geo-thermal for a relatively low cost. Orient it to face south with large overhangs to block summer sun and deciduous trees to shelter it from the heat in summer but expose it to the sun in winter, you will gain passive solar. A wind chimney can allow for passive cooling especially if you can draw air in through subterranean tunnels. If you have control over the landscape, pumping water to and from a lake would be better than geo-thermal loops as you have the entire mass of the lake.

Note that unless you happen to be on top of a hot water spring, it's not geothermal energy, you're just using the Earth as a thermal mass for seasonal heat storage.

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