A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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What is the thesis of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"? 

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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My thesis would be that this is a story about human empathy versus human indifference. Hemingway comes down on the side of human empathy. The world may be a meaningless place that crushes people, but for that reason, small acts of kindness and decency are all the more important.

The plot of this story is very simple: two waiters are discussing an elderly male patron. They would like to close up the cafe for the night, but the man seems unwilling to leave. One waiter is callous and indifferent. When the other waiter defends letting the older man linger, the first waiter says the old man can go to the bar down the street if he doesn't want to go home. The other waiter notes that you have to stand at the bar, and it is not a pleasant place for an old man.

I would use as my thesis something like: "As the title of the story...

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accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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