A Clean Well-lighted Place Ernest Hemingway(1898-1961)
Usually, style indicates a mode of expression: the language a writer uses, including the length and complexity of sentences, and diction, or choice of words: abstract or concrete, bookish or close to speech. Other techniques contribute to a writer’s style, too, for example, any habitual use of imagery, patterns of sound, figures of speech, or other devices.
Hemingway’s Style 1 a master of swift （快的，迅速的）, terse （简洁的） dialogue, and scenes in the form of conversation. 2 simple diction, usually monosyllabic words. 3 simple as opposed to complex sentences. Hemingway’s heroes embody the writer’s own belief that although life may be followed by nada, or nothingness, strong individuals can embrace life and live it with dignity and honor. “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” is taken from the 1933 collection, Winner Take Nothing. Hemingway is particularly well-known for stylistic minimalism （极简派）, and this brief gem （宝石） is considered to be a best example in this respect.
? Minimalism （极简派） ? 1 Literary minimalism is characterized by an economy with words and a focus on surface description. ? 2 Minimalist writers eschew adverbs and prefer allowing context to dictate meaning. ? 3 Readers are expected to take an active role in the creation of a story, to "choose sides" based on oblique hints and innuendo, rather than reacting to directions from the writer. ? 4 The characters in minimalist stories and novels tend to be unexceptional
? A clean well-lighted place ? The characters ? The attitudes of the two waiters towards the deaf man ? Nada vs. God ? Theme
What happens in this story? What do the characters stand for? What is the plot? There is little figurative (比喻性的) language — no metaphor or simile, for example. Character and plot are minimized （减至 最低数量）. These three characters do not even have names. All that happens is that the two waiters talk, the old man drinks, and then they all go home.
? Character profiles Old Man: elderly, deaf gentleman drinking gracefully near the back of the café main subject of discussion for the waiters to close up for / the night/ gossip about the man's attempted suicide / speculate about other aspects of his life/ every night, alone, to pass the time in a clean, well-lighted environment/The old man is drowning his sorrows in drink, and his sorrows grow out of loneliness Young Waiter: impatient with the old man, hoping to return home to his wife by a decent hour. / He doesn't understand how important it is to offer such a clean, well-lighted place to his customer. Older Waiter: solidarity/ resembles the old man: he is lonely and he lives alone with no wife. He is an / a sympathetic man/ knows the old man’s history and identifies with it/Like the old man, the old waiter is lonely, a little sad, and he takes pleasure in a quiet public
place. The old waiter is not, however, as desperate as the old man is. He seems to endure his loneliness with a certain objectivity, realizing that although he is alone, he is not alone in suffering. /The older waiter seems wise and resigned.
? “the clean, well-lighted place”
Darkness: frightening/ symbolic darkness of reality. the ultimate purpose of life : such a clean, well-lighted place to escape from the darkness of the world/”need a light for the night”73/”…who needs the cafe”/”light is good”74/ the dark truth: life is without truth or meaning light : any device used to distract man from the darkness. image of the lighted café located in the sea of dark : nothingness / Hemingway's nihilistic view of a world with no hope, no solace, no escape save that man creates for himself.
? Theme no God, no meaning to this world, and man must consequently find something to distract himself from this horrible truth For the older waiter: a clean, well-lighted caféas an escape / an artificial light made by man for man/ the only way to step out of the darkness of reality: that life is filled with nothing meaningful. Glorified individuals: the veteran waiter and the elderly drinker coping with life's hardships in a graceful, dignified manner/ the drunk old man neither rude or unruly, but polite and well behaved72-73/ hardships in his life (suicide/ stays in control of himself, exhibiting grace under pressure/ Such grace, Hemingway asserts, should be the goal of every individual.
? Nada vs. God ? Nada in the place of God: 74 ? The prayer: a significant event to indicate a belief in a religion, in a system and an order for life, to indicate life’s profundities . ? Nada inserted into the prayer: a “form” (a prayer) but then deny its “contents” (Catholicism). ? “Nothing” is the old waiter’s way of referring to the most important things in life after one’s bodily wants have been satisfied. Thus, it is not surprising that the old man
What happens in this story? What do the characters stand for? What is the plot? In fact, because there is no plot, Hemingway enables us to focus absolutely on the story’s meaning—that is, in a world characterized by nothingness, what possible action could take place? Likewise, that no character has a name and that there is no characterization emphasize the sterility of this world.