Ernest Hemingway – a Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Topics: Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, Character Pages: 1 (483 words) Published: December 6, 2005
Ernest Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" started with two waiters sitting at a cafe talking and waiting for an old man to finish drinking so they can close up. However, the old man flashes to the waiter for another glass of brandy. In the end, the younger waiter decided to tell him that he has no more brandy for him and the store is closing. When the old man leaves, the waiters close the cafe. The young waiter leaves for home, while the older waiter walks to a bar, thinking about the terrible emptiness, "nada", of the old man's life which he identifies himself with too. He orders a cup of nothing, "nada" from the barman who thinks that the old man is just another lunatic and brought him coffee. The story has a simple plot which plays a crucial role in emphasizing the main theme of the story – nothingness. It is, however, complex and difficult as Hemingway says as little as possible, letting his characters speak and from them we have to infer the main idea of the story. Ernest avoids using too complicated words to send his message to the reader. This helps to simplify the story and focus the reader on the main idea Ernest is trying to get across. The main character in the story is the old waiter who has completely grasped the concept of nada and is able to be able to deal with it. As Hemingway says, "What did he fear? It was not fear or dread. It was a nothing that he knew too well. It was all a nothing and a man was a nothing too… Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all…". He recognizes the old man's problem and realizes that he is dealing with the most difficult problem in one's life. The old man's deafness is also a powerful image in the story. His deafness is probably one of the contributing reasons for his feeling lonely. It shuts him out from the rest of the world and is the reason he prefers the night as he is not missing much. There are no busy streets, busy roads nor people chattering in the cafes. In this story, the setting plays an...
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