General aspects

Ernest Hemingway’s story is constructed using the iceberg theory. This means that readers are only given a small part of the story, while the rest of the narrative stays hidden and open to interpretation (just like most of an iceberg is hidden below…



The short story begins with a description of the setting which also introduces the characters: “The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white.” (p. 475, l. 1); “The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building. It was very hot and the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes.” (p.…



The middle of the story is mostly dialogue, with a few observations about how the characters act while they are talking.

The idea that there’s a conflict between the characters is first introduced when the characters talk about the scenery:

‘They look like white elephants,’ she said.
‘I've never seen one,’ the man drank his beer.
‘No, you wouldn't have.’ (p. 475, ll. 19-21)

The two have opposing views on the scenery and the girl seems upset with the man. Soon enough, th…



Shortly after Jig’s outburst, the bartender announces that the train is going to arrive in five minutes and the man goes for the luggage. This moment corresponds to the falling action in traditional plots.

This part of the story is marked by suspense. Readers wonder if the man will return, or the girl will leave, or if the couple will continue fighting: “He picked up the two heavy bags and carried them around the station to the other tracks. He looked up the tracks but could not see the train.” (p. 478, ll. 20-21)

The story h…

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