What is an example of strategy of evasion in Hemingway's "A Clean Well-Lighted Place"?Strategy of evasion is when an author intentionally leaves things out thus making the reader infer.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most obvious example of Hemingway's use of strategy of evasion (reader's need to infer) is in relation to the first waiter's life. We are not told any details about the first waiter. We are told details about the young waiter's life, about his wife and his ideas about going to bed at 3 a.m.

"I'm not lonely. I have a wife waiting in bed for me." ... "I want to go home to bed." ... "I have confidence. I am all confidence." ... "I never get to bed before three o'clock. What kind of hour is that to go to bed?"

The dearth of detail about the waiter's life means we must infer what has happened to him in the past and what family he may or may not have had--he pointedly says the old man had a wife once but deliberately says nothing about having or not ever having a wife of his own.

When he contemplates the need "that the place be clean and pleasant" and that the nature of everything is "nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada," we are left to attempt to infer what has driven him to such existential meaninglessness and angst. We must further infer causes when we learn that he speculates that his sleeplessness is nothing more than insomnia. The waiter is obviously full of the same despair torturing the old man, but we can only infer the reason and cause:

finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it's probably only insomnia. Many must have it.



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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

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