A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Essay

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In this essay Hoffman examines the three characters' experiences of "nada," or nothingness, in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" and shows how the concept pervades Hemingway's work.

One of his most frequently discussed tales, "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" is justly regarded as one of the stylistic masterpieces of Ernest Hemingway's distinguished career in short fiction. Not only does it represent Hemingway at his understated, laconic best, but, according to Carlos Baker, "It shows once again that remarkable union of the naturalistic and the symbolic which is possibly his central triumph in the realm of practical aesthetics." In a mere five pages, almost entirely in dialogue and interior monologue, the tale renders a complex series of interactions between three characters in a Spanish cafe just prior to and immediately after closing: a stoic old waiter, a brash young waiter, and a wealthy but suicidal old man given to excessive drink...

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This section contains 9,245 words
(approx. 24 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Study Guide
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