Barn Burning and Hills Like White Elephants

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Desperation is the surest path to making a decision. In order to explore this statement clearly I studied two short stories: “Barn Burning” by Faulkner and “Hills Like White Elephants” by Hemingway. First novel describes conflict between aristocratic de Spains and embittered poor man Abner Snopes. But the main idea is a tragedy of a boy who does not want to live like his father and deserts his family to find a new way of life. Throughout the story, the author shows inner anxiety of a boy who chooses between seeking of justice and devotion to father (Faulkner). The climax of the story is a decision he made at long last. Even when Sarty understands that his father is not the best sort of man, he still tries to absolve him. After telling de Spain about burning, the boy attempts to return to his father. Only when he hears shots, he understands that he passed the point of no return. The new life is waiting for him, and what it would be lik depends on him.

Desperation theme in “Hills Like White Elephants” seems unclear from under calm Hemingway’s manner. The dialogue of two main characters looks strange at first. A hint is given in the name of the story (“white elephant” is something useless and even harmful for its owner). The girl who seems so unworried is in distress. She is going to get rid of her unborn child and of her dreams about happy family life. Making this decision turns out to be a heavy psychological stress. She feels that her life will become unstable, love will die and turn into loneliness. “It was all a nothing and a man was a nothing too” (Hemingway). This bitter remark of other Hemingway’s story character describes condition of young woman perfectly.

Both stories show us the process of making important decision. It is difficult to say if such decisions are made on hot blood or as a result of long reflection. However, there will be one outcome: main characters’ life will never be the same because of a chosen path. And life will judge whether it was a good solution or bad.

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