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Literary Analysis Essay of Ernest Hemingway's 'A Clean Well-Lighted Place'

0 August 11 2014, 14:21 in Literary Essay

Literary Analysis Essay of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Clean Well-Lighted Place’

A Clean Well-Lighted Place is one of the famous short stories of Ernest Hemingway. The writing style remains to be straightforward and provides a journalistic attempt to tell the story to audiences. This alongside the mixture of an omniscient point of view enables readers to appreciate the conversation happening among characters and in the end derive a deeper purpose and meaning. Here, it goes to show the relevance of the setting and how the bar remains to depict a ‘clean well-lighted place’ for characters and how it serves as a place of finding relevance out of nothingness.

One of the relevant themes that Hemingway’s short story provides is the concept of dissatisfaction. Upon close examination, there remains to be a contrasting attributes between the young and old waiter of the bar. Arguably, these differing viewpoints particularly that of the old waiter and patron, indicates individuals who remain to be discontent about what is happening. Through the story and dialogue, readers are able to recognize the transition towards pessimism. The only recourse and escape that both the old patron and waiter have is staying in the bar to forget the sadness and desolation (Hemingway 1). Clearly, this is different from the vantage point of the young waiter who wonders why the old man is sad despite being rich.

Another important theme that is apparent in Hemingway’s short story is the existence of isolation and nothingness. To uncover this, readers must read beneath the lines and try to appreciate the flow of conversation and the corresponding symbolism it represents. Again, the depiction of this theme can clearly be seen in the representation of the old man and the old patron. For the old patron, there is of course the sadness associated with him being rich and the reason why he committed suicide while the old waiter demonstrates this in his continued inclination to work for the bar (Bassett 1). Though both these characters continue to experience this feeling, they also find refuge in their own version of a clean well-lighted place. For the old patron and the old waiter, it is their pleasant place where they can escape and find peace amidst the nothingness they continue to feel in their lives.

This piece of Ernest Hemingway also presents readers with the use of symbolisms that help advance a deeper meaning in the story. For instance, the use of alcohol is considered one of the apparent symbols used in the story. Looking closely, Hemingway used alcohol in the story to depict escapism. It seeks to emphasize that the old patron continues to order drinks to let time pass and find a temporary solution to his loneliness (Tibbett 1). This in turn complements the development of the story further because the old patron’s clean well-lighted place where he finds the sense of belonging or companionship is the bar.

Another important symbolism that can be seen in this short story is the contrasting approach taken by the old and young waiter. Analyzing the story, this represents not only the different personalities of each character but also showcase the interaction between man and time. Looking closely, the young waiter demonstrates that of youth where enthusiasm and positivity remains to be evident. This in turn is contrary to the old man who has seen the trouble and hardships in his life and just waiting for his time to come. Arguably, these differing perceptions about life bring readers to recognize that amidst the idealism brought forward by the youth, life would continue to test our beliefs and possibly create feelings of isolation and nothingness.

Overall, Ernest Hemingway’s piece remains to be a powerful because of its ability to evoke readers to appreciate the story on a deeper context. Even with the straightforward approach to storytelling, underneath are different symbolisms, themes and meanings that put emphasis on the reality of isolation and emptiness that man can feel in life. Though this may seem to be true, there will always be a situation, a place or person that people can find significance or value, even if this remains to be temporary.

Works Cited

Bassett, Olena. ‘A Clean Well-Lighted Place’: The Revelation of Nada’ Lone n.d. Web. Accessed 30 July 2014.

Hemingway, Ernest. ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place’ MrBauld.n.d.Web. Accessed 30 July 2014.

Tibbett, Amelia. ‘Literary Analysis Clean Well Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway’ Humanities 360. 3 Feb. 2008. Web. Accessed 30 July 2014.

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