A Clean Well-Lighted Place, by Ernest Hemingway

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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. Thomson (1983) postulates that there are three issues with the text of A Clean Well-Lighted Place:” 1. The content of the story is difficult to understand and requires revision. 2. The flow of…show more content…
The old waiter knows that the old man wants to stay and enjoy the café, and he is present when the young waiter refuses to give another drink. The question that a reader may have is why doesn’t he give the drink? The old waiter has relabeled his loneliness with insomnia. He walks into a different bar, compliments the bartender on the lighting and the steam pressure coffee machine but informs the barman that the bar is unpolished. One significant part of the short story that emphasizes loneliness is when the old waiter is reciting the Lord’s Prayer. It appears that he is mocking God with the repetitive nada. Nada means nothing in Spanish. Perhaps the old waiter has lost faith in God because he is so lonely, and God doesn’t mean anything to him anymore. Remarkably, nothing or nada is repeated thirty times. The reflection of nothing as it relates to being lonely is noteworthy. Nothing is referred to when the two waiters discussed why the old man tried to commit suicide. Nothing becomes a part of the self talk of the old waiter after he is left alone at the café. He disparages about the nothingness of life. The self talk encompasses how the café would be nothing with the lighting, cleanliness and order. In order to circumvent the nada, the older waiter and the old man find a clean, nice well lit place that is organized and peaceful. He attempts to frequent bars, but none of them are as nice as well lighted cafés, so he goes home and doesn’t fall
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