Essay on A Clean, Well Lighted Place

1901 Words Feb 4th, 2016 8 Pages
Hemingway first reveals life’s meaningless nature through a description of the core aspects that define humanity. Although there are many complex ways to classify one human being from another, most people can be distinguished by three simple traits: who they are, what they think, and what they do. Supposedly, these are the traits that make people unique, and allow them to create their own meaningful narrative. However, Hemingway contrasts this view in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” He starts his argument that life is without meaning by refusing to give his characters names. Often, one’s name represents his or her base identity, which gives him purpose and individuality within the world. However, the characters in this story are simply referred to by a description, as seen when Hemingway introduces his first character simply as “an old man” (Hemingway 1). Had Hemingway included names for the waiters and the old man in his story, the reader would have been led to infer that their individuality mattered. Instead, Hemingway chose to leave the characters nameless in order to show the lack of meaning which accompanies human personality. Next, Hemingway proves that human thoughts are meaningless as well. Throughout “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” Hemingway writes through a limited omniscient point of view. He describes everything that happens in the story, but specifically excludes the thoughts of the characters. Had the reader been allowed to see the thoughts of any character, an…

Related Documents