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"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" Characterization

Honors English 9 Mr. Wise

Alejandra Castaneda

on 31 October 2012

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Transcript of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" Characterization

"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" is about two waiters who are serving an old man at a cafe. The younger waiter wants to leave, so he is rude to the old man. The older waiter understands the old man because they are both lonely and do not know their place in life. Author: Ernest Hemingway
-Lived through many wars, including WWI and WWII. Several of his stories are about wars.
-committed suicide in 1961 Element: Characterization is the way the author presents and gives information about the characters. Introduction Thesis: Ernest Hemingway uses indirect characterization to describe his characters that often stem from his personal life. Short Story/Term How Literary Device is Used in Story indirect characterization (mostly through dialogue)

static characters

protagonist-older waiter
antagonist-younger waiter Characters Old man-lonely, drunk, doesn't know place in the world
Example: Older waiter says, "Last week he tried to commit suicide," because "He was in despair"

Old waiter-also lonely, understands old man, not confident
Example: said, "No. I have never had confidence and I am not young."

Young waiter- selfish, confident, not lonely, doesn't understand old man
Example: said, "I'm not lonely. I have a wife waiting for me." Older waiter said to him, "You have youth, confidence, and a job." "The Larger Picture" uses indirect characterization in his other stories, including "Hills Like White Elephants," "Soldier's Home," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
recurring selfish character in many stories
other stories have dynamic characters, while this one only has static characters Criticism Real World Connection Argument
"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"
By Ernest Hemingway Some young people are often impatient with older people because they do not understand them. They do not know older people's stories and the reasons why they are lonely

Young people are not as wise because they haven't lived as long and do not realize that they will be old someday too.

In, "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," the younger waiter was very impatient with the old man and did not understand him. He did not realize that he would be old someday and did not respect the old man. He did not care about the reasons the old man had for being lonely or drunk How This Pertains to My Paper This has to do with the characters in the story and how they are related to people in the real world, and my topic is characterization. Author + Element Story "Like so many of his 'old man' figures, he... did lose the essential inner cleanness, without which the light must eventually be overpowered by darkness. With his internal defenses in disarray, Hemingway turned to an old man’s despairing act. In effect, in his suicide, he opted for the release from turmoil..." (Steven K. Hoffman) What This Means: Hemingway failed to find clean, well-lighted place within him in last years of his life, like the old man.
"Place" Hoffman is referring to is the mind. Hemingway and many of his characters lost "inner cleanness," and without "inner cleanness" the light (which represents good, positive things) is overcome by darkness (which represents bad things)."
Hemingway attempted suicide to be set free from all of his troubles, as did the old man. Shows how Hemingway's characters are a lot like him, which is the main topic of my paper (thesis).
Shows that the characters are not as simple as they appear to be on the surface Application to Paper "Last week he tried to commit suicide," one waiter said.


"He was in despair."

"What about?"


Here, the two waiters discuss the deaf old man as he drinks. Alejandra Castaneda Mod 6/7 Honors English 9
Full transcript