A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Essay

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In “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” written by Ernest Hemingway conflict is clearly evident. Conflict in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” is determined by other elements of fiction, more importantly, characters, setting, and theme. Conflict is seen in this short story in many aspects, such as man versus man and man versus self.
The characters in Hemingway’s short story add to the conflict throughout and conflict appears both between the characters and within the characters themselves. Hemingway clearly depicts three major characters which include an old man, a young waiter, and a middle-aged waiter. The old man who is drinking in the Spanish café experiences his own inner conflicts; this is shown in dialogue between the two waiters: “’Last week he tried to commit suicide,’ one waiter said. ’Why?’ ‘He was in despair.’ ‘What about?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘How do you know it was nothing?’ ‘He has plenty of money’” (Hemingway 186). This
quote shows the inner despair of the old man but also the conflict between ages. Ernest Hemingway chooses the characters at different stages of life to create this conflict among generation:” Hemingway has expressed with genius the terrors of the modern man at the danger of losing control of his world . . . provided his own kind of antidote” ("Hemingway, Ernest (1898-1961)."). Humans evolve over a lifetime to think and feel differently this can be demonstrated by the conflicting views of the old man, the young waiter, and the middle-age waiter. The young waiter states, “’I don’t want to look at him. I wish he would go home. He has no regard for those who must work’” (Hemingway 187). The young waiter has a wife to get home to and does not understand why the old man does not also want to return home, the middle-ag...

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...d theme of the story. However, without these three elements of fiction working together, conflict would have little to no effect on the story entirely.

Works Cited

"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway." Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jenny Cromie. Vol. 40. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. 153-269. Literature Criticism Online. Gale. Online.
21 September 2011.
"Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)." Short Story Criticism. Ed. Laurie Lanzen Harris and Sheila Fitzgerald. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale Research, 1988. 204-253. Literature Criticism Online. Gale. Sheridan College. 26 September 2011
"Hemingway, Ernest (1898-1961)." Modern American Literature. 5th ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: St. James Press, 1999. 29-36. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Online. 21 Sep. 2011.
Hemingway, Ernest. “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” Literature. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. 185- 189. Print.

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