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In this story, the ultimate meaning is that the man does not wish to take responsibility for the woman's pregnancy and on the other hand she has superior imagination, vision, understanding, and knowledge of the natural world and of humanity.
The contrast between the white hills and the dark drinks -- along with the fact that absinthe is believed to be an aphrodisiac -- lend a curious sense of tension to the story from the very beginning.
"Everything tastes of liquorice," she says to him, sounding impatient and inferring that things have not being going well in their relationship.
By the time the reader realizes the woman is pregnant her gazing into the distant hills and seeing an image like a white elephant has more meaning for the reader.
As Weeks points out, there is powerful irony in the concept of a white elephant for several reasons.
[and moreover] scholars have seen this allusiveness as an indication of her superior imagination and knowledge" (Nagel, 1994, p. This is easy for a reader to grasp because she is the only one who seems interested in the big picture -- that is, what is on the other side of the valley, and symbolically, what is out there for her beyond this train station setting -- while he looks at her and at the table and seems to care only about the drinks and himself.
What the reader should glean from the man's comments is that he really doesn't want any obligations (Nagel, 2).
Meanwhile, contrasts, symbolism and colors bring an element into the story that leads to more tension.
The reader certainly knows that liquorice is dark and absinthe is licorice flavored.
Rather than agreeing with her description, he takes a contrary position.
And an alert reader wonders why she is gazing into the distance anyway as they wait for the train.