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Hills Like White Elephants

Hills Like White Elephants


by Ernest Hemingway

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : None

It’s rare that we can’t use one of Booker’s Seven Basic Plots to shed new light on a story. Since "Hills Like White Elephants" is a revolutionary approach to story writing, and perhaps even a reaction against stories that fit into traditional plot structures, it makes sense that our hands are tied with this one.

Part of the problem is the complete lack of resolution at the end of the story. But that’s not the entire problem. We aren’t missing only the ending, but also the beginning. We can deal with missing one, but not both. In other words, if we could have seen the couple’s life before they got to the train station, and then seen their relationship falling apart, we might have something.

Maybe this story can be seen as a stage in one of Booker’s Seven. Which of these plots the story fits into would depend on what happened before they got to the train station, and/or on what happens after they leave.

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