A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. by Ernest Hemingway Essay

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. by Ernest Hemingway Essay

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"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" reflect Hemingway's views on the loss of faith and hummanity in the world. He wrote this short story after experiencing the horrors of World War I. Hemingway, like a lot of other writers during his time, was forever affected by the war. His experiences left hime filled with doubt. Hemingway constructed a story to express his emotions of emptiness and loss that he felt as a result of the war. The story includes characters that serve as vessels for his own emotions. He incorporates various literary techniques throughout his short story that emulate his feelings of loneliness and loss of faith. The main characters in the story are constantly wrestling with the emptiness they feel, and they desperately search for some sort of relief. In "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," Hemingway uses symbolism, narrative technique and tone to reinforce the theme of life having no meaning and how an empty life can lead to despair.
Throughout the story, Hemingway incorporates both symbols and motifs to emphasize the notion that the characters in the story are filled with despair and are searching for relief. The most prominent symbol in the story is the cafe from which the story gets its title. The action of the story takes place in a cafe late at night. Two waiters are waiting for an old man, who frequents the cafe, to leave so that they can close it up for the night. The two waiters discuss the old man, and the younger of the two waiters is impatient for him to leave. The older waiter suspects that the old man is lonely and goes to the cafe to escape his loneliness (143-44). The older waitor can identify with the man because his life mirriors the old man's in terms of emptiness. Hemingway uses the cafe as a symbol to r...


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...ife. Hemingway used this story as a way to express his own emotions, and he created characters that were vessels to convey his doubts about hummanity. He was masterful in constructing a story that seems so subtle and doesn't rely on too much detail. Hemingway only provides the reader with limited details and he has left it up to them to discover the meaning of the story below the surface. The simpleness of the story adds so much more to the meaning. The symbol of the cafe and what it represents for the characters and Hemingway is powerful. The story has real ressonance with the reader who feels tremendous sympathy for the characters, and they can relate to the emotions of loneliness that Hemingway explores.


Works Cited

Kennedy, X.J. and Dana Gioia, eds. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 6th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. Print.

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