Human Struggle in the Novel "A Clean Well-Lighted Place"

Paper Type: 
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  654 Words
Date:  2021-03-13

A Clean, Well Lighted Place is a novel by Earnest Hemingway that provides insight into the human condition. In this novel Hemmingway depicts an atmosphere of desperation and loneliness. He shows the interaction between an old waiter and the young workmate. As the two men interact, they reflect on the nature of happiness and how death cannot be avoided. The two waiters are in a cafe in Spain as they prepare to close at night, but for one deaf old regular customer left. The old waiter, after closing tell the young waiter of how he dreads to go back into an empty home. This essay will look at human struggles through the sufferings, loneliness, and endurance as depicted in the two stories.

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In this short story, the author shows his audience how the two waiters address the existence of happiness and suffering. The old waiter talks of how the young waiter is impatient to get home while the old man is hopeless in life thus stick at the cafe to get drunk. The author shows the human struggle in light and dark, clean and dirty, youth and old age (Hemingway 380). The human struggle has conflicted among generations. This is illustrated by the contrast between the old and young waiter; the young waiter represents materialism and callousness while the old waiter symbolizes wisdom of age. Unlike the young waiter, the old man has a clouded vision of life as he has already witnessed how life can be destroyed over time and has seen nada in its death mask. But the old man has lost hope and only drinks alcohol, unlike the old waiter who has sustained all the life struggles in a clean, well-lighted place. However, the old man possesses a little balance that helps him stay alive as well as the modicum of internal cleanness and self-possession (Hemingway 393).

As the story of A Clean Well-Lighted Place, The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio, is a story about suffering, loneliness, and endurance in the human struggle with life. The story is set in a hospital Montana, run by the Nuns. Mr. Frazier has a broken leg and is not recovering as quickly as expected. He spends a lot of his time in the hospital talking with the nurses and other patients. Sister Cecilia, one day engages with Mr. Frazier and Cayetano, the gambler. As they interact, the depiction of suffering pain and disappointment is realized.

The nun has waited for a long time to be a saint but fears her dream will not be achieved. On the other hand, Cayetano has accepted he will never stop being a small-time gambler with no luck. Cayetanos friend is bitter in his way, and he dismisses religion as the opium of the poor and says that he believes in nothing. Fraziers life is shunned down by his illness and spends most of his nights alone with his radio moving from station to station. Frazier believes that people have many forms of opium from ambition, education, sex economics religion, gambling and emptiness in life. Frazier believes that life is going through an operation without an anesthetic. Religion is the opium of the people. . . Yes, and music is the opium of the people . . . and now Economics is the opium of the people (Hemingway 404).

In summary, both short stories show about the struggles that people go through in this life. People have different ways of viewing life, and each person has their type and form of struggle in life. The stories show that although people look composed, deep within, they are empty and struggling with a lot of issues. The old man is hopeless hence turns to drunkenness while Frazier is sick and can only keep hope by listening to the radio at night.

Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest, and JP Madeira Rodrigues. Ernest Hemingway. Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese, 1966.

Hemingway, Ernest. "A clean, well-lighted place." The short stories of Ernest Hemingway (1966): 379-383.

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Human Struggle in the Novel "A Clean Well-Lighted Place". (2021, Mar 13). Retrieved from

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