Hemingway's "a Clean Well Lighted Place"

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Hemingway's "A Clean Well Lighted Place"


The short story “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” is one the greatest literary masterpieces of the American novelist Ernest Hemingway. His first novel The Torrents of Spring got published in 1925. Following the literary success of the novels, he wrote several other novels. Hemingway's “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” first appeared in Winner Take Nothing, a short story collection published in 1933. Hemmingway got great recognition for his great literary appeal (Hemingway & Baker, p. 96). However, Hemmingway had to suffer from numerous psychological disorders. His troubled mental state eventually caused him to commit suicide in 1961. Hemingway's work in literature won him a noble prize in 1954. “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” presents a chaotic conversation between two café waiters. The story follows the setting of an expert existentialist theme.

Themes, Positions, and Interpretations

The story contrasts the personalities and thoughts of a young waiter and an elderly waiter. The scene is set in a well-lit café, deserted except for an old man, an observer (the narrator) and two waiters (Hemingway, p. 84). While the younger waiter is eager to close the bar, the older waiter does not like the idea. The older waiter is strongly supportive of keeping the café open and clean so that older people (like the one still in the bar) could pass their time in light without having to feel lonely. The younger waiter wants to return home to his wife and bed. The old age and the drunken state are common to the older waiter and older customer, so it is natural that they could not realize of what the youth thinks (Hemingway, 84).

From the conversation of the waiters, the narrator also came to know that the old man attempted suicide a few days back. The youth, unwary of the mental and social state ...
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