A Clean Well Lighted Place - Theme and Setting

Topics: Fiction, Narratology, Late at Night Pages: 3 (946 words) Published: April 14, 2012
Theme and Setting
A clean well lighted place by Ernest Hemingway has a few themes that stand out clearly but the one theme that stands out to me is despair. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, despair means to lose all hope or confidence. In the story, the older waiter and the old deaf man somehow share a common bond of despair. Both men are of age and like to be out, late at night, alone. Asides from the story alone, the theme of the story can be brought out by the setting. The setting contributes to the story’s theme in different ways. The setting contributes to the mood of the story, to the structure of the story, and to the lesson of the story. The café represents salvation for despair which is shown through the setting of the story.

First, the setting contributes to the mood, from the quote “It was very late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light.”(107) sets a mood of a person in sadness. As a regular, at a café, late at night alone reveals the character’s personality with the help of the setting. The setting reveals the story’s mood because it visualizes the scene along with emotions of the story. Obviously the old man is not the type of drunk to get violent or rough because the mood seems to be calming as the setting had described “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.”(107) Even though the old man is deaf, the setting intensified the mood of peacefulness that the old man enjoys nice quiet drinks at a clean place. Later in the story the older waiter had no place to go for a drink so, he had gone to a bar/bodega for a drink; however, the mood of the bar/bodega compared to the café was not as peaceful nor comfortable. The waiter mentioned “It was the light of course but it is necessary that the place be clean and pleasant. You do not want music. Certainly...
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