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A Sterile, Well-Lighted Place Essay

Assignment id 1007076
Discipline Self Improvement
Assignment type Essay
Words 2320
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Human Life: Torture of the Mind Ernest Hemingway captures the character and origins of nihilistic thought in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place", written at a time of spiritual and moral confusion shortly after The Great War. The ideas expressed within this short story represent the post World War 1 thinking of Hemingway, and the famously nihilistic Lost Generation in Paris, which was heavily influenced by the many traumas of war. Learning out of his unnerving experiences in battle, Hemingway enforces the idea that all humans will inevitably fade into endless nothingness and everything valued by humans is worthless. He develops this idea by producing a brilliant mockery of two coveted religious documents, revealing authority figures as typical, despicable, human beings, and he reduces life into the very raw, simplistic, and terrifying reality conceivable. Hemingway says that all humans will naturally die alone and literally be "in despair" about "nothing" (494), which people will seek a "calm and pleasant café" (496), or a self-inflicted passing simply to escape grief. Undoubtedly, Hemingway eliminates any consideration of a greater meaning because he considers that "[life is ] all nothing, and a person [is] nothing too" (496). By seeing the activities of three different generations, Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" elaborates on the idea that human life isn't continual enlightenment and growth, but gradual grief, and an inevitable death into "nada" (497). The confident waiter, representing that the youngest of the 3 male generations, is the only apparent replicas of existentialist thought in the story. But this young guy is simply an unconcerned existentialist due to his age; he is not in despair bec...

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