Drinking is the only source of relief that the man and the girl can find from both the harsh, hot sunlight and the complications of their own relationship. For such a short story, both characters consume an extraordinary amount of beer and liquor. In fact, the only pause in their bickering occurs when they are ordering or consuming their drinks. It is important to note, however, that alcohol is not portrayed as a positive force here. While water produces life and nurtures living things, making them grow, the alcohol in the story affords only temporary relief—the relief of avoidance and the chance to briefly lose one’s self.
Alcohol Quotes in Hills Like White Elephants
“They look like white elephants,” she said.
“I’ve never seen one,” the man drank his beer.
“No, you wouldn’t have.”
“I wanted to try this new drink. That’s all we do, isn’t it—look at things and try new drinks?”