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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
Transcript of A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
As a child, Hemingway fell in love with hunting and fishing
Worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Star after graduating High School in 1917
Ambulance driver for the Red Cross in World War I
Member of the “Lost Generation”– men and women whose early adulthood was defined by WWI Supported the loyalist side during the Spanish Civil War (Spanish influence on writing)
Won Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954
Had four wives
Struggled with depression, alcoholism, and psychological issues (electric shock treatment shortly before death)
Committed suicide by shooting himself on July 2, 1961 Spanish Influence
Hemingway’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War led to Spanish influences in many of his works, including Hills Like White Elephants
Belief that life has no higher purpose and that no higher being exists to help humans make sense of it.
The Sun Also Rises (1926) – first literary success, novel
A Farewell to Arms (1929)– based on experiences in WWI
Winner Take Nothing (1933) – collection of short stories, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” appears
The Old Man and the Sea (1952) – Pulitzer Prize, novel
. Existentialist Other Works Spanish Influence Setting
A clean and well lighted café.
Late at night
Presumably in Spain
The café is a good place to be on a lonely night The Older Waiter (static, round)
understands why the old man
wants to stay late at the café
he enjoys it also.
He finds it important for a café to
be clean and well lit
sees the café as a refuge from despair.
He does not admit that he is lonely, instead he believes he just has insomnia. 3rd person omniscient
Character thoughts are revealed
Subjective because it’s interpretive, audience decides their own feelings about each character
The viewpoint allows each character’s individual story to be fully unraveled, there are no minor characters Plateau Plot Line Exposition- introduce characters and setting Narrative hook- one waiter says “last week he tried to commit suicide” Rising Action- dialogue between waiters, refill old mans drink, old man leaves, clean up Climax – “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. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order. Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada.” Falling action- older waiter goes to coffee shop Resolution- it is revealed that the old waiter has insomnia Internal conflict- man vs. self, wrestle with loneliness Theme
*Strong men can look death and the nothingness in the face but weak men cannot.*
*You will only see light if you look in the right place*
Life has no meaning or reason and man is insignificant to the universe
*Dealing with despair is a major struggle; despair usually cannot be cured but can be subdued.*
No higher being exists to help humans make sense of life. *Implied* Quotes
“It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order.” - old waiter
“Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada. Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee." - Old Waiter
“It was all a nothing and man was a nothing too.”- Old Waiter Special Topics
everyone must struggle alone in their own ways
The old man is lonely he has no wife and only a niece who cares for him
The difference between the young waiter, old waiter, and old man is that the young waiter is not lonely and the older two are (“He’s lonely. I’m not lonely”).
The young waiter does not care why the old man might be lonely and doesn’t consider that he may be lonely too one day
The older waiter doesn’t say he is lonely, but he is similar to the old man in his habit of sitting in cafés late at night that we can assume that he too suffers from loneliness.
The older waiter goes home to his room and lies in bed alone, telling himself that he merely suffers from sleeplessness. Even in this claim, however, he instinctively reaches out for company, adding, “Many must have it.” The thought that he is not alone in having insomnia or being lonely comforts him.
There is no higher power to help man through life (existentialism)
“Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee”. The Younger Waiter (flat, static)
impatient young man
only cares about getting home to his wife.
usually irritated with the old man because he has to stay late and serve drinks.
does not care why the old man stays so long.
His only concern is to leave as quickly as possible. The Old Man (static, round)
old deaf man
around 80 yrs old
enjoys drinking brandy at the café until late at night
presumably until around 3am
likes to sit in the shadows of the leaves from the tree outside on the well-lit café terrace.
tried to commit suicide by hanging himself.
used to be married, but now his niece takes care of him.
has a lot of money.
frequent customer at the café but tends to get drunk and leave without paying. About an old deaf man
The man is visiting a cafe late at night, presumably in Spain.
The man is a frequent customer
he sometimes becomes too drunk and leaves without paying,
The two waiters keep a close eye on him.
The waiters gossip about how the old man tried to commit suicide last week, for no reason.
The young waiter has a family at home, so he tells the old man the cafe is closed.
The young waiter goes home, while the older waiter, who has insomnia, goes to a coffee shop to ponder ideas. Outline POV