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What is the tone and style of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"?

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xchronicleryu | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 27, 2008 at 7:38 AM via web

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What is the tone and style of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"?

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 27, 2008 at 8:24 AM (Answer #1)

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Hemingway's style for this short story is called "minimalist" because it is brief and simple in every aspect of the story. The sentences are simply, clearly written, there is very little in figurative language (similes/metaphors), and the diction, the writer's choice of words, consists of words with only one or two syllables. The only description we get of the setting, the cafe, is what the title tells us, "clean" and "well-lighted". The characters aren't fully described either. Because the story is simplistic, the reader must be careful not to overlook any of the words and sentences in it because everything in the story becomes important to understanding it.

Throughout the story, we get a sense of loneliness and desperation from the older waiter who wonders if his life has ever been meaningful. He never sleeps at night, but as he's lying in bed that night, he has some hope that he's not alone in his feelings. Somehow, he feels better thinking that other people are having the same doubts and fears he does.

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