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A Clean, Well Lighted Place Essay

1477 words - 6 pages

“ A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway is a simplistic short story in which he narrates a scene in a Cafe, where the main characters are two waiters and an old man. In the story, Hemingway hardly created a background for his characters, but this was part of his minimalist writing style. He wanted to create a story that was straightforward to the reader, and in which the reader could easily understand his attitude. His purpose for writing the story was to expose his feelings on society, politics, and the individual at the time. These feelings could be characterized by three main words: desperation, disillusionment, and loneliness. Through all of the characters in his story, the reader was able to obtain one of these feelings. However, when I read the story I wanted to know more about the characters to be able to establish a connection with them. I wanted to know how and why did each of them acquired those feelings? Therefore, I decided to change the point of view of the story from third- person- limited to first- person. Unlike Hemingway, I included more personal details about one of the main characters, in this case the old man, whom I consider to be the most mysterious character of the three. This way, I could make the reader relate more to the emotions conveyed by the story. Consequently, by showing the reader the old man's background, I made Hemingway's attitude of his original story stronger, and also establish a connection between the reader and the character(s). However, I also had to modify some of the plot, and language to make my scene coherent and relevant to my point of view.
The most drastic change I made to Hemingway’s short story was the change of point of view from third- person- limited to first -person. Making this change allowed me to create a deeper connection between the reader and the character, in this case the old man, so that the reader knew the roots of his despair and loneliness. For example, in the original story Hemingway uses the waiters to indirectly give some background on the old man by creating dialogue between them such as, "He was in despair.", or "He's drunk every night.", but there is no more depth to his character, just inferences made by the waiters (Hemingway 201-202). In my story the old man explains why he is in despair: “All my life I spent wasting my money in pleasure and luxury. I never had anyone teach me the value of it. I never learned to look beyond the material lifestyle, and never learned the meaning of love” (Mesa 1). By the old man explaining this, the reader can relate more to him. In my scene I also assure the reader that the rumor about the old man trying to commit suicide is true, and create an explanation for the attempt. While in the original story, the waiters only have comments from what they have heard from other people such as, "Last week he tried to commit suicide," and "He hung himself with a rope" in my scene the old man himself explains what really happened...

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