Study Guide

Hills Like White Elephants Drugs and Alcohol

By Ernest Hemingway

Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol is more than just a prop in "Hills Like White Elephants" – it seems to be a major part of the main characters’ relationship, though it’s not clear what effect the alcohol is having on their conversation. Like in many Ernest Hemingway stories, the characters in "Hills Like White Elephants" seem to drink like fish—there are dozens of references to alcohol in this very short piece.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. What does alcohol mean to the man. To Jig?
  2. Does it upset or bother you to read about a pregnant woman drinking?
  3. What role does alcohol play in the couple’s relationship?

Chew on This

"Hills Like White Elephants" explores the way alcohol is sometimes used as a buffer in difficult conversations.

Alcohol is just a prop in "Hills Like White Elephants," and doesn’t contribute to the story's bigger issues.