Hills Like White Elephants

The Train Station Symbol Analysis

The Train Station Symbol Icon

In literature, crossroads often represent a situation in which a character needs to make a crucial decision—just as the character must choose a physical path, they must symbolically choose a life path. In this story the couple’s prolonged stay at a train station beside the Ebro river plays such a symbolic role. Their wait at the train station suggests a stage of suspension, the sense of things coming to an intolerable standstill until they resolve whether or not to get an abortion and, accordingly, which direction their relationship will go next.

The Train Station Quotes in Hills Like White Elephants

The Hills Like White Elephants quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Train Station. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Limits of Language Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Hills Like White Elephants published in 1987.
Hills Like White Elephants Quotes

He did not say anything but looked at the bags against the wall of the station. There were labels on them from all the hotels where they had spent nights.

Related Characters: The Man
Related Symbols: The Train Station
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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He drank an Anis at the bar and looked at the people. They were all waiting reasonably for the train.

Related Characters: The Man (speaker)
Related Symbols: Alcohol, The Train Station
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Train Station Symbol Timeline in Hills Like White Elephants

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Train Station appears in Hills Like White Elephants. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Hills Like White Elephants
The Limits of Language Theme Icon
Choice Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Relationships Theme Icon
The story opens with an extended description of a train station located in Spain’s Ebro valley. In these opening details the landscape’s barren, hot, and... (full context)
The Limits of Language Theme Icon
Choice Theme Icon
Freedom vs Family Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Relationships Theme Icon
The girl gets up from their table and walks to “the end of the station,” taking in the landscape around her. Through her eyes the barren hills look fertile, full... (full context)
The Limits of Language Theme Icon
Freedom vs Family Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Relationships Theme Icon
...to scream. The woman appears from the bar to let the couple know that their train will be arriving in five minutes, which the man translates for the girl. The girl... (full context)
The Limits of Language Theme Icon
Freedom vs Family Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Relationships Theme Icon
...the table, explaining that he should move their bags to the other side of the station. The man carries the heavy luggage to their tracks where the train is not yet... (full context)