On first reading of "Hills like White Elephants", I, too, was baffled by what he could be talking about. I felt fairly certain that the implied meaning was critical, but for the life of me, I could not come up with a suitable suggestion for what they could be discussing. Could anyone? Did anyone in the class find it apparent what was being talked about? The title suggests abortion, also. It struck me as equally mystifying that only one person in the class talked about the title.
The focus of me replying is the last paragraph. I agree completely in questioning the substance of the story. I understand that Hemingway was playing with narration. Would any account of a man being falsely sincere and a weak-minded female get published? I would not say so. Nonetheless, the story was published and has become known as a classic.
I think "Hills like White Elephants" is a model piece of implied text. First, the reader feels the enormity of the implied text, and like the other blogger and myself, the reader also feels that if he were to understand the implied text he could grasp the story. This leads to the next point: the implication is a near perfect balance of vague and bloody obvious. Reading the story without the help of critics or teachers, one may tend to find themselves stumped, yet when the someone mentions abortion, it feels like an avalanche you never saw coming just crashed down on you. Inside you're exclaiming, "Of course!" So, this masterfully woven narration of implicit meaning, story structure, and relatable characters makes the story both a piece of literary fame and enjoyable reading. Reading it again may make the story better.