Compare/Contrast Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 6 September 2016


Currently, a plethora of outstanding stories have been written. What makes a story, though? The answer is the elements that the author includes into his or her writing, such as symbolism and imagery. “Hills like White Elephants,” written by Ernest Hemingway, and “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” written by Flannery O’Connor, are just two examples of admirable work. Each writer incorporated plenty of elements to improve the story. Since the amount of elements is limited, these two writers exploited several of the same ones. Although the stories have numerous resemblances, they are also remarkably different.

Various similarities arise in these two pieces of writing. In both, a main character is greedy or selfish. The man in “Hills like White Elephants” is a prime example of self-interest. Throughout the entire conversation, he says things like “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig. It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in,” and “I won’t worry about that because it’s perfectly simple. ” From Jig’s feedback, the reader easily notices that he is merely trying to convince her to go through with the abortion, because it’s what he wants.

The man’s greediness corresponds directly to that of the grandmother in the story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find. ” In the grandmother’s case, she wants to go to Tennessee, while the rest of the family wants to go to Florida. Like the man in “Hills like White Elephants,” she tries to persuade somebody to get her way. This time it is done by the use of evidence of potential danger: “Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people. Just you read it. I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it.

I couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did. ” The greed that these characters have results in arguments and pain for both stories. While these are similarities, they are of little importance. The main similarity is the symbolism that occurs. For example, O’Connor uses things like “five or six graves fenced in the middle” and “a big black battered hearse-like automobile” to symbolize the death that awaits the family. She also includes characters to symbolize higher beings, such as the devil and Jesus. The symbolism that Flannery adds in displays the meaning to the story.

This is parallel to the symbolism that occurs in “Hills like White Elephants. ” In this instance, Hemingway relies on the use of symbolism to carry his theme. When Ernest shows the hills as “brown and dry” or as “lovely green,” he portrays the outcome of each choice. The audience, in turn, realizes this, and then sees how greed can cause terrible consequences. These two stories can be seen as closely resembling the other, but they possess countless distinctions as well. Both authors applied some of the same elements into their stories. However, the style of writing is unmistakably different.

In “Hills like White Elephants,” Hemingway provides the reader with little detail. At times, it is difficult to comprehend what the characters are discussing because the most information supplied is about an operation. Even then, the reader may have trouble understanding the plot. Because of Hemingway’s vague style, much analysis and interpretation is brought about, giving the story an extraordinary twist. On the other hand, O’Connor writes with an inverted method. She provides an abundance of details to the events that come about in the story. Obviously, it is intended for the audience to understand what happens.

Therefore, the continuation of details causes one to look for why and how the actions took place, which leads to the theme. Of course, the two authors did not write for the same purpose. Each writer constructed his or her story to display a message to the audience. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor wrote for religious purposes. It is reasonably inferred that Red Sammy represents Satan, while The Misfit resembles Jesus from the fact that Red Sammy is displayed as untrustworthy and that the grandmother acquires salvation through the barrel of The Misfit’s gun.

O’Connor’s description of the grandmother’s dead body “who half sat and half lay in a puddle of blood with her legs crossed under her like a child’s and her face smiling up at the cloudless sky” helps show the reader her purpose; Through Christ one becomes pure and innocent like a young child. On the contrary, Ernest Hemingway has another objective in “Hills like White Elephants. ” Hemingway decided to teach a moral lesson through his writing, rather than a religious lesson. In this case, the symbolic materials, such as the hills or the bead curtain, and the symbolic characters aid the reader’s understanding of the subtle theme.

In other words, Hemingway relies on symbolism to carry the theme of either choosing to live selfishly and dealing with the results, or choosing a more difficult and selfless path and reveling in the rewards. Evidently, the stories possess loads of similarities and countless aspects that make them unique. So what makes each story different from the last? Apparently, it isn’t what the writer presents in his or her writing. Instead, it is how and why the author writes what he or she does.

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