Raymond Carver´S Fat And Hemingway´S A Clean, Well Lighted Place

1730 words - 7 pages

“Fat” by Ray Carver is so similar to Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”, that it is sometimes considered a ‘revision’ to Hemingway’s story (Oard n. pg.) The two stories are parallels in the sense that both take place in a restaurant/bar and both characters cause some sort of disturbance to the workers of the facilities. The only real difference between the two is that in “Fat”, the character in reference is a morbidly obese man who orders a great quantity of food, but in “A Clean Well-Lighted Place”, the character is a wealthy drunk who keeps asking for more booze.
I think that the morbidly obese man is supposed an example of one of the seven deadly sins – Gluttony. He starts out with an order of: a Caesar salad, a bowl of soup, bread and butter, lamb chops, a baked potato with sour cream, and a glass of water. The narrator, who is his waitress, commented, “You know the size of those Caesar salads?” I’m assuming this means it’s a pretty large salad, especially after all the dressing, cheese, and croutons - the typical variation of this salad – could be considered a large meal by itself. The fact that the waitress also keeps bringing the man bread and butter, at least 3 times, possibly a reference to the idiom “one’s bread and butter”, meaning his source of income, or a job. This leads me to believe this ‘fat man’ has the hardest job of all, eating for himself and his enormous gut. Carver also mentions that the ‘fat man’ is “well dressed enough”, so he probably has a job of some sort, or at least some sort of steady income. However, he may not be as rich as Hemingway’s ‘old man.
In Hemingway’s “A Clean Well-Lighted Place”, the old wealthy man keeps ordering drinks, which is also a form of gluttony. One of the employees of that restaurant mentioned, “He has plenty of money”. This story more or less focuses on how this old man impacts the two male employees after the old man leaves. The younger of the two male employees is overly confident in himself, but the older waiter says "You have youth, confidence, and a job. You have everything."
Within one paragraph, the younger waiter uses the Spanish word, nada meaning nothing, 21 times when reciting ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. That’s a whole lot of nothing! This suggests that the younger waiter views life as an empty meaningless heap of nothing. He has no religious beliefs, and is only thinking of himself and going home to sleep for the night. He takes no consideration for the older waiter’s feelings and wishing to prolong his night in the café, who also feels the nothingness, but in a different way. It’s almost as he sees himself in the younger waiter and wants to get him to appreciate what life he has. Both waiters are the same, they have a job, they have a bed to go home to, and they are both tired from the long day they had at work. However, the older waiter points out that the younger waiter has everything – he has, “youth, confidence, and a job.” The older feels as though...

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