Literary Analysis of "A Clean, Well Lighted Place" by Ernest Hemmingway

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Cassie Monson Professor Samantha Hesse English 191 Literary analysis 17 October 2012 MLA The meaning of life portrayed in Ernest Hemmingway’s “A clean, well-lighted place”. "What did he fear? It was not a 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 was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada." - Ernest Hemmingway In the story "A clean, well-lighted place" there is two waiters, in a cafe, talking about an old, deaf man who is a nightly customer. There is a deeper theme portrayed in the story; the meaning of life, if there is one. As said by the website, “There are three main characters in ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,’ and each represents a different view on the meaning of life”( This story illustrates the different meanings of each person’s time they are given in their lives. It is illustrated between the three different men; the old man feels there is no more meaning to his life, the older waiter is unsure of his meaning of life at his point in time, and the younger waiter feels he has everything to look forward to in his life. The old man is portraying the ending of life, how there is no importance to life after you grow old, how there is no purpose for life after there is nothing to look forward to; just living life only to pass time until we die. In the story this is shown when the two waiters are talking about the old man. "Last week he tried to commit suicide", "why?", "he was in despair", "what about?" ,"nothing" (Hemmingway, 1926). This is saying that the old man may not have been having problems in life, and it would seem that he had nothing to be in despair about, yet he was old and had nothing to look forward to, nothing worth living for. In the story it tells how he has tried to deal with this despair
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