Preview
Preview

Spiritual Emptiness in Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Essay

:: 6 Works Cited
Length: 968 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ernest Hemingway's short story, "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," first published in 1933, is written in his characteristic terse, unembellished style. The definition of "Style" is "the characteristics of language in a particular story and . . . the same characteristics in a writer's complete works" (Gioa and Gwynn, "Style" 861). Short words and a curt tone are so characteristic of Hemingway's style that writers frequently parody them in "International Imitation Hemingway" contests (Gioa and Gwynn, "Style" 861). But Hemingway could only his express this story's theme -- that there is nothing beyond the here and now of daily existence, no God to embellish our lives -- in an unembellished style of writing. The somewhat empty style of this short story is not "Imitation Hemingway"; it's consistent with the story's theme of spiritual emptiness.
Almost thirty lines of "A Clean Well-Lighted Place" are pure dialogue with few clues, other than what is said, about who is speaking. In the rest of the story, the percentage of words with more than two syllables is very low. Some biographers point out that Hemingway learned his rules of writing working for the Kansas City Star, whose style-book admonished reporters to "Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English, not forgetting to strive for smoothness" (qtd. in Desnoyers 2). Was the curt style of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" caused only by Hemingway's having learned writing from a newspaper style-book? He later said about those newspaper rules, "Those were the best rules I ever learned for the business of writing. I've never forgotten them. No man with any talent, who feels and writes truly about the thing he is trying to say, can fail to write wel...


... middle of paper ...


.... "One True Sentence." The Longman Masters of Short Fiction.
Eds. Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn. New York: Longman, 2002. 375-376.

Desnoyers, Megan Floyd. "Ernest Hemingway: A Storyteller's Legacy." The Ernest
Hemingway Collection. 12 December 2002. John F. Kennedy Library and
Museum. 20 August 2003. .

Gioia, Dana, and R.S. Gwynn. "Ernest Hemingway." The Longman Masters of Short
Fiction. Eds. Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn. New York: Longman, 2002. 370-372.

Gioia, Dana, and R.S. Gwynn. "Style." The Longman Masters of Short Fiction. Eds.
Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn. New York: Longman, 2002. 861-862.

The Hemingway Resource Center. "Ernest Hemmingway Biography>Key West." The
Hemingway Resource Center. LostGeneration.com. 20 August 2003.
< http://www.lostgeneration.com/keywest.htm>.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Essay - Life sucks, does it not. Life is nothing and everything in life is meaningless. Perhaps there are a few things that can distract the mind and guard from the inadequacies of life, but in the end all fades away. Nothing lasts forever. While all the somethings are dying and fading, nothing is still there. Sure, one can search for meaning and think happy thoughts, but throughout the struggle everyone is alone and slowly spiraling down the path to despair. In “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” Hemingway uses the concept of nada, characterization, and the setting to emphasize the idea of human life being full of nothing....   [tags: Ernest Hemmingway] 1150 words
(3.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Ernest Hemingway’s A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Essay - Every piece of published work in literature is open to interpretation, and every person is entitled to have opinions, assumptions, and viewpoint. In a story shorter than 1,500 words, Ernest Hemingway’s A Clean, Well-Lighted Place has garnered serious debate and criticism. Written and published in 1933, Hemingway’s story containing a theme about nothing in several contexts has definitely given many critics something to talk about, but not about the usual theme, irony, or symbolism. The first 25 years after publishing the story were quiet, but a storm was brewing....   [tags: a clean well lighted place, hemingway]
:: 7 Works Cited
971 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about The Character of Robert Cohn in The Sun Also Rises - The Character of Robert Cohn in The Sun Also Rises       WWI consumed the lives of millions.  Those lucky enough to have lived through the war did not necessarily to get away unscathed.  Many war survivors had lost a large chunk of something called hope.  Hope feeds the soul and is the fuel for love. Hope also supplies meaning in a confusing world.  Lacking hope and love, feelings of disillusionment, loneliness, inadequacy, and alienation were commonplace.              The characters in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises struggled with this, particularly Robert Cohn.   Cohn was a ray of hope that people just couldn't bear.  As in a dark room when someone opened the shade - the light hurts...   [tags: Hemingway Sun Also Rises Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1551 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Hemingway's A Clean Well-Lighted Place Essay - I chose to read and write about Hemingway's "A Clean Well-Lighted Place". Here is a summary of what happens. Two waiters in a Spanish café are waiting one night for their last customer, an old man, to leave. As they wait, they talk about the old man's recent suicide attempt. The younger waiter is impatient to leave and tells the dead old man he wishes the suicide attempt had been successful. The young waiter has a wife waiting in bed for him and is unsympathetic when the older waiter says that the old man once had a wife....   [tags: Hemingway Well Lighted Place Summary] 1551 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about A Clean Well-Lighted Place, by Ernest Hemingway - Ernest Hemingway’s short story, A Clean Well Lighted Place, created literary controversy when it was initially published in 1933. During this time, there were several literary critics concerned with the dialogue inconsistencies. In the original story, the reader would not be able to distinguish between the two waiters. Hemingway failure to identify the characters by name leaves the story flawed according to the literary critics. Hemingway does not go into the mind of any characters but chooses to describe events from a distance....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway]
:: 2 Works Cited
1004 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Yearning for Peace in Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place - Yearning for Peace in Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place          While Hemingway's short story "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" is usually interpreted as an intensely poetic description of despair, it can with equal validity be seen instead as mankind's never ending yearning to find spiritual peace. Hemingway's short story displayed this emotional journey in many different ways. First, the title itself is a symbol for man's desire to find a state of tranquillity, safety, and comfort. Hemingway also showed this in the story's setting, which was used as a symbol for a sense of order, for it was late, the cafe was empty, and the men there were at ease....   [tags: A Clean Well-Lighted Place Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1191 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Powerful Images of A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, By Hemingway - The Powerful Images of Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place The main focus of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" is on the pain of old age suffered by a man that we meet in a cafe late one night. Hemingway contrasts light and dark to show the difference between this man and the young people around him, and uses his deafness as an image of his separation from the rest of the world. Near the end of the story, the author shows us the desperate emptiness of a life near finished without the fruit of its' labor, and the aggravation of the old man's restless mind that cannot find peace....   [tags: A Clean Well-Lighted Place Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1043 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of A Clean Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway Essay examples - Ernest Hemingway's short story, "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," first published in 1933, is written in his characteristic terse style. It is the story of two waiters having a conversation in a café, just before closing up and going home for the night. They cannot leave because they still have a customer. One is anxious to get home to his wife, while the other sympathizes with the old man sitting at the table. Without realizing it, they are discussing the meaning of life. I believe that the story takes place during WWI in Spain....   [tags: A Clean Well-Lighted Place Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
743 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about Nothingness in A Clean Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway - Nothingness in A Clean Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway Man is often plagued by the question of his own existence. Existentialism is a subjective philosophy that is centered upon the examination of man’s existence, emphasizing the liberation, responsibility, and usually the solitude of the individual. It focuses on individuals finding a reason for living within themselves. The philosophy forces man to make choices for himself, on the premise that nothing is preordained, there is no fate....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Literature Philosophy Essays] 1366 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Symbols and Symbolism in A Clean Well-Lighted Place, By Hemingway Essay - Symbolism in A Clean Well-Lighted Place   Symbolism, may be defined as a non-superficial representation of an idea or belief that goes beyond what is "seen."  Earnest Hemingway's "A Clean Well-Lighted Place" uses symbolism to help convey the theme of Nihilism, the philosophy that there is nothing heavenly to believe in.  It discusses that there is no supernatural reason or explanation of how the world is today.  Three symbols: the soldier, the café, and the shadows of the leaves, found in Hemingway's short story clearly displays this Nihilistic theme....   [tags: A Clean Well-Lighted Place Essays] 718 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]