The Significance of Purpose in Life, analysis of "A Clean Well-lighted Place"

Essay by samsum_11College, UndergraduateA+, March 2005

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The Significance of Purpose in Life

A life without purpose and belief is a life without meaning and hope. Solitary elderly people who believe that suffering and death are essentially arbitrary part of the world need a place of refuge from this terrible awareness that human lives are essentially meaningless. Hemingway, in his "A Clean Well-lighted Place," has skillfully expressed a philosophical implication in accordance with the denial of metaphysics. He portrays the characters in such a way that identifies their thoughts, and the views suggest to his readers that life is ultimately meaningless. The main focus of the narrative is initially upon the old man. Gradually, as the story develops, it becomes evident that the real hero of the story is the old waiter. The story goes on to reveal an ever-increasing gap between the sensibilities of the two waiters, and to suggest a spiritual alliance between the old waiter and the old man against the younger waiter.

The three characters in the story of "A Clean Well-lighted Place" have different characteristics and personality, but they also share some similarities. They are demonstrated as three different phases of a human life. The young waiter is a symbol of youth and identifies with its qualities through his attitude and behavior. As a result of little information presented in the story, it is difficult to assess any standing about the existentialism theory in the young waiter's views and beliefs. The young waiter is much more apart from the two other characters, and he has distinguished characteristics in accordance to his age. He is young and bubbling with youth and confidence. As the common trait of young generation, he is very impatient. He does not have much respect for the elderly people and seems to be disrespectful to the emotions...