What are several word phrases that Ernest Hemingway repeats in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Ernest Hemingway's "A Clean,Well-Lighted Place," there are several phrases that are repeated with certain variations:

The guard will get him

to kill himself

it is necessary that the place be clean

A clean well-lighted place

The light is very bright and pleasant

I wish he would go home

in nada as it is in nada

The story’s simplicity and thematic austerity has many critics ridiculing Hemingway while his admirers contend that ‘‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place’’ is Hemingway at his most pure as

he captures in both form and content an irreducible and tragic essence of life. 

The older waiter sympathies that lie with the old man point to the existential condition of man whose life is simplified to "nada" and he must struggle to find some light in the darkness of nothingness.  He does this by finding a place that is clean and well-lighted where he can be with others in and where he can display good form and conduct.  The old man displays good conduct as he sits in the cafe and "drinks without spilling."






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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

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