A Clean, Well Lighted Place By Ernest Hemingway Essay

A Clean, Well Lighted Place By Ernest Hemingway Essay

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In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” the term nada, meaning nothing in Spanish, is used repeatedly with great significance. Nada is used as more than nothing in this short story. At first, this story is simple, but after digging deeper the reader can begin to discover the essence of nada in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” The reader can depict how nada is portrayed in all of the three characters and how this nothing plays out in Hemingway’s life.
The older waiter speaks the theme of nada for the author, Hemingway, in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” (Hoffman 91). Nothing is a theme that is continually mentioned in Hemingway’s short stories, making it an important aspect of his own life (Hoffman 93). The older waiter has found the meaning of nothing, and he is the one who knows how to respond to nada (Hoffman 100). It is pointed out that the nada the older waiter talks about is, in fact, “Something.” It is “a Something called Nothing” because here the older waiter turns someone else’s nothing, in this case the younger waiter’s, into his Something (Hoffman 91).
Although the older waiter is the only one to actually speak of nada, this nothing is also prevalent in the other two characters, the young waiter and the old man. They may not speak of it, but they reach nada in their lives (Hoffman 91). However, these two characters are unable to “grasp” an entire understand of nada. Nada is like darkness to these two characters, it brings them a sense of unbalance because they are both missing an aspect of “a clean, well-lighted place” to fully understand nothing (Hoffman 94-95).
The younger waiter is missing a sense of “light,” which is mentioned as a clear vision (Hoffman 94). Since the younger waiter cannot...


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...ell-Lighted Place,” is significant in correlation to nada. The older waiter has found the meaning to nada, and that is why his response to it is through “a clean, well-lighted place” (Hoffman 94). As the older says, “I am one of those who like to stay late at the café…With all those who need a light for the night” (Hemingway 171).
As mentioned previously, the older waiter tells the younger waiter that he has everything (Hemingway 171). He says this, but he knows it is only temporary because eventually everything will become nothing. However, he knows that nada will expose itself to the younger waiter with time and experience. When the younger waiter is older and knows the truth about nada, he will then want to hold on to a “clean, well-lighted place” like the old man and waiter. The young waiter will know that there is nothing to come out of this world (Bennett 79).

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