A Clean Well Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway is a cryptic short story about a deaf man in a bar late at night with the waiter getting frustrated with him because he wishes to go home. The dialogue slowly turns to two waiters who inject a symbolic exchange. This entire piece of full of symbology and is in my opinion a story up the the interpretation of each individual reader.
“In the daytime the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference.” In this sequence we see the first comparison made between light and darkness, and we see the daytime being described as dusty and the in the night the dew eliminated the dust. This state of moistness or lubrication perhaps represents a state of mental lubrication, free from the dullness of the day. It’s also interesting that a deaf man would be able to tell the difference between the sounds of the day and sounds of the night. In my opinion this means that at night when it’s expected to be desolate the man feels more at home than he does in the daytime when there is expected to be commotion.
“"Last week he tried to commit suicide," one waiter said. "Why?" "He was in despair." "What about?" "Nothing." "How do you know it was nothing?" "He has plenty of money."” This is a humorous dialogue about the condition of money vs happiness. The man is described as being in despair, but yet they know now what he has to be despaired about if he has means to provide him happiness. However they do not see the true ironic sadness of the situation. A old man is sitting alone in a cafe at night downing shots of brandy. It is obvious to the reader that the old man does not have a very pleasant life.
“They sat together at a table that was close against the wall near the door of the café and looked at the terrace where the tables were all empty except where the old man sat in the shadow of the leaves of the tree that moved slightly in the wind. A girl and a soldier went by in the street. The street light shone on the brass number on his collar. The girl wore no head covering and hurried beside him.” This is the second time the “shadow of the leaves of the tree” is mentioned, this is demonstrative by the author that this is important and essential symbology to understand. Obviously the leaves can produce no real shadow since it’s night, however since it is under an electric light the leaves produce a false shadow from a false light. The legal definition of false light is a “portrayal that is highly offense to a reasonable person” but not so much so that it’s defamation. This allows the old man sitting there to perhaps portray himself as offensive to the waiter, as we will see in a later exchange, but not so much so that he defames himself. The man is also able to view from the terrace the soldier and the women passing by. This might be the man looking down and reminiscing on memories of old.
Another exchange that struck me was between the two waits discussing the events of the attempted suicide of the man. “"He's drunk now," he said. "He's drunk every night."
"What did he want to kill himself for?" "How should I know." "How did he do it?"
"He hung himself with a rope." "Who cut him down?" "His niece." "Why did they do it?" "Fear for his soul." "How much money has he got?" "He's got plenty." This exchange shows the audience the severity of this mans drinking, and drinking almost goes without symbology itself as an expression of relieving anything from stress, to recreation, to wallowing in pity. They again fail to recognize the plight and sorrow this man has, they suffer from a delusion that this man's great wealth brings him joy and happiness, however again we can tell that it doesn’t. The waiter's also state that the man’s niece who came and saved him did so out of fear for his soul, not fear for his life, but fear for his soul. To me this is indicative...
Mrs. Misti Brock
American Literature II
The Iceberg and Hemingway
“A Clean, Well-LightedPlace” (1933) by Ernest Hemingway takes a view from having characters explain what is really being told within the story. Hemingway was notoriously known for having his own style of writing, and “A Clean, Well-LightedPlace” features his unadorned way of writing. Many contrasts towards the iceberg theory are found throughout this story, but Hemingway’s style of omission leaves readers with countless interpretations of this story. This story presents an opportunity to understand the iceberg theory and the story he wrote in 1933.
In order to better understand this story one must understand the iceberg theory. Hemingway was quoted by saying, “[he] always [tried] to write on the principle of the iceberg” (Hemingway2203). “Manuscript evidence alone reveals that Hemingway was a highly self-conscious writer who gradually developed the iceberg theory to explain, justify, and ground his revolutionary style. Yet while influences on Hemingway's prose style have attracted sustained interest, little has been said about the origin of his iceberg theory” (Moreland). There have been many different interpretations on analyzing the iceberg theory and the relationship it has with Hemingway’s writing, but it all boils down to having the reader understand the...
“A CleanWell-LightedPlace” is written by Ernest Hemingway. The subject of this story is life as nothingness. The story starts off with an old deaf man sitting alone in a café. There are two waiters who watch and wait on the old man because he has a tendency to drink too much and if this happens they know he will walk out and not pay. The waiter talks about how the old man tried to kill himself because he was in despair; the other waiter asks why he felt despair and the first waiter said the reason was nothing because the old man has a lot of money. The old man is a very interesting character; we know he once had a wife, but now is alone with his niece. This story portrays the cycle of life and how surroundings can affect our emotional state.
In this story there aren’t a lot of details that pop out at the readers. The readers have to read the story over and over again to finally understand it. As the text is read, the old man gets drunk at night at the café and likes drinking there because it’s clean and welllighted. The younger waiter tells the old man that there are bars open this late, but the old man likes the café because bars are completely opposite of what he likes. The café is welllighted, clean and quiet; bars are loud, dark and...
The Meaning of Life by Hemmingway “A Clean, Well-LightedPlace”
“A CleanWell-LightedPlace" is a short story written by Ernest Hemmingway. The story is
about two waiters having a conversation in their cafe, just before closing up. They cannot close
up because there is a customer. The young waiter is nervous to get home to his wife, while the
old waiter sympathizes with the old man sitting at the cafe. They are discussing about the
meaning of life without realizing it
I think that the story takes place in Spain between World War one and World War two
because the story published on 1933. Also, the writer mention that a soldier in the story who is
walking by the cafe with a girl, “A girl and a soldier went by in the street.” One of the waiters
say that the guardian will pick them up shortly if they do not get off the street now. It is
between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. because the young waiter is in a hurry to get home and wants to
close up the cafe early.
The story has three main characters. The first character is the young waiter. He is egocentric,
arrogant, reckless and impatient. He seems that he only thinks about himself and did not care
about anyone else’s. According to David Gomes, “His absolute selfishness reaches cruelness
when he wishes the old man had succeeded in trying to commit suicide just so he...
A Clean, Well-LightedPlace Essay
In Hemingway’s story, A Clean, Well-LightedPlace, the setting is the key part of the story in relating to the characters. Simply because we don’t have much else to go by. The setting takes place in the café. Although we don’t have names, the main characters are the two waiters and the old man. The waiters stay at the café throughout the story. The café is, as the title states, clean and well lit. It's a pleasant café, and the light creates the shadows of leaves at night. The story is set late at night, and the café is quiet; only the two waiters and a single customer, the old man, sit there. Other than that, we actually don't know anything about the place. Other than majority of the story taking place in the clean café, the older waiter stops for a small time at a bar that is quite the opposite of the café. The bar is dirty and not welllighted. It is not to the older waiter’s liking. He doesn’t linger there. He heads home soon after arriving to the bar. Other than this small stop at the bar, the rest of this story is at the café.
The old man, although he doesn’t say anything other than “Another,” he plays a main role in this story because without him in the story, the waiters would have closed up the...
“A CleanWellLightedPlace” takes place in a café where an old man has had too many drinks. The story deals with man’s coping mechanism to the lack of God that Hemmingway assumes. The characters remark soldiers walking in the streets, showing that the story takes place during wartime, exacerbating the Godless situation the characters live in. The characters in the café each present their reaction to the realization that there is no God, representing all of mankind’s own reaction to the same situation.
The first response to the lack of God is to be miserable. When one waiter asks the other of the old man’s attempted suicide, the explanation is that “He was in despair” about “Nothing,” about the lack of God; the deaf old realized that there is “Nothing,” that there is no God (289). He understands that he was made with no meaning, and becomes disillusioned with life and consequently attempts suicide. However, Hemmingway wants us to understand that although a sad and undesirable situation, the old man’s reaction is within reason by showing how he’s “clean,” “drinks without spilling” (289). The old man thinks: if there is nor God, nor life after death, nor meaning to life, then why live? What can man hope for in this dire realization that on ends?
Another position on the...
“A Clean, Well-LightedPlace”
In Ernest Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-LightedPlace,” two un-named waiters, one young and one older, have conflicting attitudes and views towards an old drunk customer.
First, the older waiter can relate more to the old man than the younger waiter. For example, “I am of those who like to stay late at the café.” (145). The older waiter said this because he felt a desire not for sleep, but for the light in place of night. Neither the old drunk nor the older waiter wanted to leave by choice, but because of the younger waiter’s hurried actions, he single handily caused the café to close earlier before 3am.
Next, we see that the older waiter defends the old drunk’s integrity when the younger waiter said, “I wouldn’t want to be that old. An old man is a nasty thing.” (144). In addition, the more experienced waiter exclaimed, “Not always. This old man is clean. He drinks without spilling. Even now, drunk. Look at him.” (144). Because of the older waiter’s attitude towards the old man, we know that he too must be of an age to be able to identify his actual appearance and body language
Finally, the older waiter begins to view and understand exactly the way the old man does, but does not cognitively think of it. To illustrate, “It was a nothing that he knew too well....
In the story “A cleanWellLightedPlace” Hemmingway uses different phrases in his story to show that the older generation is now the lost generation because of World War 1 that affected so many people who are now not the same anymore. It shows how it is changing and not for the good.
One quote in the passage that shows a lost generation is when the waiter said “You should have killed yourself last week” to the deaf man. This shows a lost generation because it shows how people have lost respect for people who are in despair or depression from all the bad stuff that occurred as they were fighting in the war. It shows how the old man was willing to kill himself because of all the bad things that might have occurred in the war like all the killing he saw and had he would have had to do the something to another man in the war.
Another quote that shows a lost generation is when the waiter said “He’s drunk now. He’s drunk every night.” This shows how the old man is depressed enough to drink himself drunk every night. This shows how the war affected him in a negative to the point that all he does is drink and drink. It shows how the war affected his morals and his way of life and how its changing the way other people think because workers are getting tired of old war veterans coming in and getting drunk from the depression of war.
...Symbolism Analysis of a Clean, Well-LightedPlace by Ernest Hemmingway
A Clean, Well-Lightedplace is a short story by American Author Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway uses his unique writing style to describe a story that starts off with a deaf man sitting in a dark café. The entire story unfolds in the small café with three dominant speaking characters. The old man is sitting in the bar and is a customer who is drinking, and the other two characters are a waiter and barman. The barman is substantially older than the waiter and unmarried with no family. The waiter is a younger man with a family and a youthful hurried life. The story begins with the older customer wanting a refill of his drink, and the younger bartender becomes irritated and wants to get home to his family being that it is so late. As the story plays out you begin to notice a relationship between the old bartender and the deaf man, being that they are both lonely and seek out their solace in bars indulging in late night drinking. It is disclosed to us that although the old man has money, he has still recently tried to commit suicide and is generally unhappy and lonely. The word “nothing “is repeated throughout the story linking the descriptive dark vs. light elements to feelings shared by both the old man and barman. Hemmingway uses a substantial amount of symbolism sprinkled every...