A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway

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What is the significance of the word "nada" in Hemingways "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"?

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Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The word "nada" in the story stands for the nothingness that the waiter who is not in a hurry fears. He understands the old man's desire to drink in a clean, well-lighted place, though the old man can just as easily drink at home. A clean, well-lighted place is a kind of defense against the nothingness, or emptiness, that plagues all humans.

Towards the end of Hemingway's story, the waiter thinks of the Lord's Prayer interspersed with the word "nada," beginning, "our nada who art in nada." The use of the word "nada" in the Lord's Prayer is another form of expressing the belief in nothingness, as the...

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lacrosseollie | Student

Nad in Hemingway's A Clean Well-Lighted Place refers to the nothingness that surrounds the old mans life. There is nothing in his life which was why he attempted to commit suicide. But he was cut down for the sake of saving his spirit, leading to the distrust of the institution of religion in the speech with the Lord's prayer being replaced by nada. Showing the meaninglessness of religion.

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