This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Dealing With Despair Essay

1118 words - 5 pages

What gives a life meaning? Some might say that family, friends, religious values, or even money give meaning to their life, but what about the people who do not have any of these things? In Earnest Hemingway’s short story “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” two characters are portrayed as being in despair. These older gentlemen have explicit reasons for their grief however. Hemingway presents the central theme of despair throughout the story by the use of dialogue, images, and multiple viewpoints. Through the use of these three literary tools, Hemingway is able to reiterate that without family, friends, or values life is ultimately meaningless.
One of the first elements that Hemingway uses to communicate his central theme is dialogue. Throughout the story, the central focus is put onto the main character, the old man. The reader learns that through a series of many unfortunate events that the old man is deaf, has no family, and is frequently drunk. The reader is also introduced to two other characters which are referred to as the younger waiter and the older waiter. The first instance of despair is directed towards the old man. As the younger waiter is serving the old man he claims, “You should have killed yourself last week” (143). This episode shows that the old man is in a constant state of desperation. The statement is able to evoke compassion from the reader because it is clear that the old man feels as if his life is meaningless. Unlike the old man, the younger waiter has a wife, a set of values, and he is living the life that has been granted to him. As the younger waiter is anticipating to leave he expresses his feelings to the older waiter saying, “He’s lonely. I’m not lonely. I have a wife waiting in bed for me” (144). This fact clearly displays that the old man’s solitude has also left him in a state of despair. He has lost everyone; consequently, tragedies such as these leave people in a constant state of grief. As illustrated, being alone in life causes despair; likewise, living every day the exact same can also produce this emotion. From the beginning to the end of the story the reader learns that the older waiter does not compromise his daily routine. The older waiter retorts to the younger waiter by saying, “And you? You have no fear of going home before the usual hour?” (145). This statement proves that the older waiter has no desire to step out of his comfort zone. Each day that he continues the same routine, the more he proves to himself that his life is disappointing and meaningless. Through the dialogue spoken by each of the characters, the reader is able to clearly define the central theme; however, despair is also shown through many different images.
Throughout the entire story, Hemingway strategically uses multiple images to illustrate the theme. One of the first images shown contains the old man. The reader sees that he is sitting alone late at night with only an “electric light” illuminating the area around him (143). This...

Find Another Essay On Dealing with Despair

Grief Essay

596 words - 2 pages environment. Once these feelings and illusions pass it is then time for the next step.Next, the individual enters the disorganization/despair phase. They feel as if they have lost their value of life. Any action or event seems to be meaningless and they tend to fall into a state of submission. This can seem to be one of the longest steps. People often fall into depressions in this phase, but with time, they are able to recover. Even though this

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Essay

1076 words - 4 pages feels that the old drunk “should have killed [himself] last week” (494) simply because he doesn’t want to waste his time dealing with him. Like most young people, the young waiter is a short-term thinker, and he has not even thought of the possibility of death; Hemingway implies that the drunken old man and the older waiter were once youthful existentialists, but naturally grew nihilist over time. More importantly, the reader can see that life

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

991 words - 4 pages along in the poem the sailor states, “Is this the light-house top I see? Is this mine own countree?” He has found the way back to his home where he resides. 3. The intended audience for the piece is people that are interested in poetry. However, it is also for people that enjoy adventure. The man is on a voyage and has to deal with the despair and loneliness he has from losing all his shipmates. When the author says, “there breathed a wind

To remember and never forget

1284 words - 5 pages source.The poet is using a paradox in the phrase "divine despair": to make us think how despair (hopelessness) can be divine (heavenly)? Tennyson states that he cries while "looking on the happy autumn-fields." At first, it seems strange that looking at something happy would cause tears, but if we think, we see that fields of autumn stand for the memories of a spring and summer that are gone, so it leaves the poet with nothing to look forward to except

Identify And Explain The Stages Of Grief Experienced By The Dying

539 words - 2 pages 1: Shock-Denial: This stage is when the patient first hears about his/her illness, and this is where the patient is saying "no, not me" and "it can't be me". During this time they will also ask a numerous amount that "is the results wrong", or "could you check my results again please". 2: Rage/Anger: There are two things to remember when dealing with this stage, which is that; anger is never personal

Erickson Theory and its Stages

987 words - 4 pages happen until we are in our late 20’s. He goes on to say if this stage is great, they can go on to a deeper level of intimacy. Generatively and stagnation The generatively and stagnation is the stage of ages 40 to 60 year old. This stage is about parenting and shaping the future for the next generation. Issues can occur and the sad part about it is that he/she has to deal with those issues they are face with. Not dealing with issues can cause


1246 words - 5 pages around him. Dave also dealt with the issue of guilt, when Dave was young he made fun of a black girl in his class and the guilt caused him to see this girl taunting him. This issue of guilt leads me to the subject of despair. Just like Joe Dave also felt guilt, because of what he did in the past. I feel this represents despair, because the meaning of despair as written in the book is When people look back over their live and feel that they have

Erik Erikson's Human Developmental Theory

645 words - 3 pages with their experiences which is known as despair. It is easy to see how applicable and realistic Erikson’s theory is, humans pass through many different stages at different times. Erikson’s theory helps to clarify the behavior of humans by predicting issues and conflicts they face during each stage of their development. His theory is especially useful when dealing with children. In Erikson’s theory, the issues and conflicts that children deal

Oppression of Women in Chopin's The Story Of An Hour

718 words - 3 pages suppression women endured and accepted in the late 19th century. Unlike most women at the time, Chopin was far from a conformist. Kate showed increasing concern for the plight of women in Victorian age America and she responded with scandalous writings dealing explicitly with love, sex and marriage. In one of her more famous short stories, The Story of an Hour, her refusal to be silenced is all too evident. Chopin presents a character known simply


608 words - 2 pages thoughts. The author uses grief and despair to bring out the theme of the story. The story starts with a quote Chekhov (1886) stated, "To whom shall I tell my grief" (p.85). The author addresses this quote to give an idea to the reader on what the main character is feeling through this short story. The main character, Iona, has much tragedy hidden in him, and he wants to tell someone, but no one cares to listen. There was a time when I was

reaction paper

608 words - 2 pages thoughts. The author uses grief and despair to bring out the theme of the story. The story starts with a quote Chekhov (1886) stated, "To whom shall I tell my grief" (p.85). The author addresses this quote to give an idea to the reader on what the main character is feeling through this short story. The main character, Iona, has much tragedy hidden in him, and he wants to tell someone, but no one cares to listen. There was a time when I was

Similar Essays

Ignorance Of Despair Essay

1350 words - 6 pages . Kierkegaard says that may be the reason adults do not display as much despair. It would serve to explain some modern forms of despair for adults like the classic midlife crisis and the increased divorce rate. It would appear that people in today’s society are becoming more conscious of despair but are not dealing with it in the correct way. They are redirecting their despair by attempting to make superficial changes to life like buying a fancy

Analysis Of The Barn Burning By William Faulkner

915 words - 4 pages Analysis of The Barn Burning by William Faulkner The short story “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner is about a ten year old boy, Sarty Snopes, who has grown to realize that his father, Abner Snopes, provides a life of “despair and grief” as he refuses to accept the “peace and dignity” generated by the ties with other people. In essence, Sarty is faced with the dilemma of choosing between his family (his blood) and moral conscience of

Existentialism Essay

724 words - 3 pages Existentialism is a philosophy about life that says being is more important than the indispensable everyday occurrences. It acknowledges an individuals freedom to choose and says with this knowing there comes an immense sense of responsibility. Despair, hopelessness and anxiety are characteristic of a person struggling with existential thoughts. Nihilism sums up this condition by stating that all values are baseless, nothing is foreseeable and

Erik Erikson Essay

1052 words - 5 pages stage leads to regret, bitterness, and despair. To Erikson, the things that happen that affect during all these stages occur naturally in life. How you cope with the things that happen, gets you the result of which stage you successfully accomplished or failed. Erikson’s theory of the eight stages of psychosocial development are very important. Every healthy human being will go through all of these stages. We go through a series of lessons and