Book Analysis: A Clean Well-Lighted Place

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A Clean Well-Lighted Place
In the short story “A Clean Well-lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway the setting is very important. The story takes place in a Spanish speaking country in a café, but more so than the actual place the time is what makes the setting so crucial to the story. The story takes place at night Hemingway uses this in contrast to the well-lighted cafe with its artificial light. The contrast between dark and light is the main idea of the story and it is best expressed through the setting of the story. There are many different examples of this some are literal examples and some are more symbolic.

The setting is symbolic as well as literal. It is a place that is not safe after dark a place where some one even a soldier can be picked up by the guards just for walking the streets after dark. “‘He had better get off the streets now. The guard will get him. They went by five minutes ago’”(Hemingway 148). This was said by one of the waiters as they watched a young soldier and a girl walk by on the street together. This implies that there is a country or statewide curfew put into effect for safety reasons. This gives the impression that it is not safe to be out after dark and that if a person is out they are in danger or are dangerous people themselves. The story describes how the streetlight shines on the soldier’s brass number on his collar. This shows his identity as a soldier. This is symbolic showing that all things are brought to light and in the light all people or things true nature is reviled. This part of the story gives the reader a literal sense of the setting showing how it is an unsafe environment. It also gives a symbolic sense of why some characters in the story would choose to stay in the dark and not the light.

The main setting of the story is the dark, the quiet, and the nothingness that the night brings. This is in contrast to the artificial electric light provided by the café. Even with this light witch is created by the café...
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