Existentialism In A Clean Well-Lighted Place By Ernest Hemingway

1734 Words 7 Pages
The philosophy of Existentialism characterizes the human experience by being in a state of perpetual loneliness and disorientation in a meaningless universe. Therefore, the individual must find or make meaning and purpose in life. Ernest Hemingway explores this philosophy in depth with his works: A Clean Well-Lighted Place, The Capital of the World, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, The Old Man at the Bridge, and The Sun Also Rises. In addition to writing about traditional Existentialism, Hemingway examines a sect within the philosophy, Existential nihilism. Existential nihilism, like Existentialism, states that the individual is alone in a meaningless universe, but cannot make or sustain purpose and meaning …show more content…
With him, in the cafe, are two waiters, one old and one younger, who both offer commentary on the old man and attempt to interpret his life. The younger waiter dislikes the old man, as his being there forces him to work late into the night at the cafe. The younger waiter is an impatient and insolent man who does not care as to why the old man stays late every night. Rather, he only cares about himself and getting home to his bed. The older waiter, however, understands the man’s troubles and outlook on life. Through both the older waiter and the old man, Hemingway offers a nihilistically existential commentary on the human existence, stating that life is meaningless, and there’s nothing we can do about …show more content…
The short story takes place at the Luarca hotel, inhabited by several “second-rate” bullfighters, and offers a commentary on their lives as Paco goes about his work. As the night progresses, and the hotel begins to empty, Enrique, a waiter, tells Paco that he should give up his dreams of being a matador. Enrique explains to Paco that being a matador is too dangerous. To illustrate this, Enrique ties a pair of knives to the end of a chair and charges at Paco. On the second “bull-rush” Paco is pierced by the knives in the femoral artery. Within minutes, Paco bleeds out and is tragically killed. This short story can be interpreted both as existentialism and existential

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