StudyBoss » Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois. His father was the owner of a prosperous real estate business. His father, Dr. Hemingway, imparted to Ernest the importance of appearances, especially in public. Dr. Hemingway invented surgical forceps for which he would not accept money. He believed that one should not profit from something important for the good of mankind. Ernest’s father, a man of high ideals, was very strict and censored the books he allowed his children to read. He forbad Ernest’s sister from studying ballet for it was coeducational, and dancing together led to “hell and damnation”.

Grace Hall Hemingway, Ernest’s mother, considered herself pure and proper. She was a dreamer who was upset at anything which disturbed her perception of the world as beautiful. She hated dirty diapers, upset stomachs, and cleaning house; they were not fit for a lady. She taught her children to always act with decorum. She adored the singing of the birds and the smell of flowers. Her children were expected to behave properly and to please her, always. Mrs. Hemingway treated Ernest, when he was a small boy; as if he were a female baby doll and she dressed him accordingly.

This arrangement was all right until Ernest got to the age when he wanted to be a “gun-toting Pawnee Bill”. He began, at that time, to pull away from his mother, and never forgave her for his humiliation. The town of Oak Park, where Ernest grew up, was very old fashioned and quite religious. The townspeople forbad the word “virgin” from appearing in schoolbooks, and the word “breast” was questioned, though it appeared in the Bible. Ernest loved to fish, canoe and explore the woods. When he couldn’t get outside, he escaped to his room and read books.

He loved to tell stories to his classmates, often insisting that a friend listen to one of his stories. In spite of his mother’s desire, he played on the football team at Oak Park High School. As a student, Ernest was a perfectionist about his grammar and studied English with a fervor. He contributed articles to the weekly school newspaper. It seems that the principal did not approve of Ernest’s writings and he complained, often, about the content of Ernest’s articles. Ernest was clear about his writing; he wanted people to “see and feel” and he wanted to enjoy himself while writing.

Ernest loved having fun. If nothing was happening, mischievous Ernest made something happen. He would sometimes use forbidden words just to create a ruckus. Ernest, though wild and crazy, was a warm, caring individual. He loved the sea, mountains and the stars and hated anyone who he saw as a phony. During World War I, Ernest, rejected from service because of a bad left eye, was an ambulance driver, in Italy, for the Red Cross. Very much like the hero of A Farewell to Arms, Ernest is shot in his knee and recuperates in a hospital, tended by a caring nurse named Agnes.

Like Frederick Henry, in the book, he fell in love with the nurse and was given a medal for his heroism. Ernest returned home after the war, rejected by the nurse with whom he fell in love. He would party late into the night and invite, to his house, people his parents disapproved of. Ernest’s mother rejected him and he felt that he had to move from home. He moved in with a friend living in Chicago and he wrote articles for The Toronto Star. In Chicago he met and then married Hadley Richardson. She believed that he should spend all his time in writing, and bought him a typewriter for his birthday.

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StudyBoss » Ernest Hemingway

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway Essay

“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” was published by Scribner’s Magazine in March of 1933, but it was not until 1956 that an apparent inconsistency in the waiters’ dialogue was brought to Hemingway’s attention. Hemingway’s thirteen word reply to Judson Jerome, an Assistant Professor of English at Antioch College, said that he had read the story again and it still made perfect sense to him. Despite this letter, Scribner’s republished “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” in 1965 with a slight change in the waiters’ dialogue that they argued would fix the apparent anomaly.

Scribner’s decision to alter the original text, the letter Hemingway wrote o Professor Jerome, and several papers on the subject all add up to a literary controversy that still churns among Hemingway scholars. I will argue that the original text is the correct text and Scribner’s just failed to interpret it properly. They failed to notice nuances in Hemingway’s writing that appear throughout many of his other works. They obviously thought Hemingway’s reply to Professor Jerome was made without notice of the inconsistency. Most important, I believe they did not evaluate the character of the two waiters in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. A careful examination of the character of each waiter can make it pparent that the original text was correct and that there was no need for Scribner’s to alter the text.

The dialogue in question results from a conversation the two waiters have concerning the old man’s attempted suicide. One waiter asks “Who cut him down? “, to which the other waiter replies “His niece. ” Later in the story, the original text appears to confuse who possesses the knowledge about the suicide. The waiter who previously said “His niece”, now says: “I Know. You said she cut him down. This seems to assume the knowledge about the attempted suicide has either passed from one waiter to another, or that we ave incorrectly attributed the first exchange to the wrong waiters.

So which waiter asked about cutting down the old man? When the disputed dialogue between the two waiters takes place, we do not know enough about them to develop an outline of character. As the story progresses, the character of the two waiters emerges through their dialogue and thoughts, as does many of Hemingway’s characters. Once the character of each waiter is developed and understood, the dialogue makes more sense when the story is read again.

The older waiter, who is unhurried and can empathize with the old man, akes declarative and judgmental statements throughout the story. Much like Count Mippipopolous in “The Sun Also Rises”, the older waiter is a reflective man who understands life and is not compelled to rush his time. He says things that convey his nature: “The old man is clean. He drinks without spilling. ” and “I am of those who like to stay late at the cafe. ” The older waiter shows concern for the old man and it would only be reasonable to assume that he knows a little about him.

So if the older waiter knows about the attempted suicide, why did the original text “confuse” the issue? The younger waiter shows all the impatience of youth and an uncaring attitude towards the old man. He is more concerned about getting home to his wife and to bed before three than he is about the old man. This becomes obvious when he says, “An old man is a nasty thing. ” We can assume that because the younger waiter cares only that the old man pays his tab, he is not paying close attention to what the older waiter is saying about him.

This might be viewed as a long inference, but taken with the original text it interprets quite clearly. We have seen that the older waiter possess the character of a man Hemingway would probably respect and admire. He is reserved, contemplative, judgmental, and possesses many of the characteristics of a Hemingway hero. The older waiter was trying to make sense of what he probably saw as an age of confusion. The soldier that passes by suggests a conflict is occurring and adds to the old waiter’s perception of confusion.

He was trying to tell the younger waiter how honest and decent it is just to sit in a clean cafe and drink a few brandies by yourself while trying to make sense of life. He tries to tell him that it is different to sit in a well-lighted cafe than it is to sit at a loud or irty bar. The cafe is a place of quiet refuge and the older waiter understands this. The young waiter does not pay close attention to what the older waiter is saying because he is too concerned with his own affairs. Understanding the differences in each waiter’s character and the inferences that can be drawn from them is crucial when attributing the dialogue to the waiter.

Certain proposals made by Otto Reinert (1959) and Charles May (1971) about Hemingway’s unconventional presentation of dialogue can be debunked if it is assumed the waiters have consistent characters. Reinert and May suggest that Hemingway wrote two lines of ialogue, but intended them to be said by the same person who in this case would be the young waiter. This would switch to whom the proceeding dialogue is attributed to and puts the younger waiter in the position of telling the older waiter about the old man’s attempted suicide.

Reinert and May say that another double dialogue occurs when the older waiter says: “He must be eighty years old. Anyway I should say he was eighty. ” This switches the dialogue again and explains the apparent inconsistency in the original text when the older waiter says to the younger waiter, “You said she cut him down. This would work well, except the dialogue that Reinert and May suggests is said by the younger waiter does not seem in line with his character. I cannot accept that the older waiter is suddenly asking all the questions and that the younger waiter knows enough about the old man to answer them.

While it is true that we are unable to know who speaks which line during the first two dialogues of the story, when taken as a whole the characters of the waiters emerge and we are able to attribute lines to each waiter. The character of each waiter indicates to me that the older waiter knew bout the old man and was therefore telling the younger waiter about him. If this is so, then the original text still appears to be inconsistent, but a look at Hemingway’s droll approach to humor will suggest otherwise. George H.

Thomson’s article ” ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place’: Interpreting the Original Text” first gave me the idea that Hemingway might have imbued the older waiter with a dry humor that is found in other Hemingway characters. Jacob Barnes in “The Sun Also Rises” and the narrator in “Green Hills of Africa” possess this dark humor and Hemingway uses it effectively to befuddle other characters or to add to the cynicism of a ituation. The narrator in “Green Hills of Africa” pretends to aim at humans while hunting and the guide misunderstands and takes him seriously.

In “The Sun Also Rises” Jake speaks of a woman with bad teeth smiling that “wonderful smile. ” The humor in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” is more subtle, but if it exists as Thomson speculates, then it clears up the apparent inconsistency in the waiters’ dialogue. When the older waiter tells the younger waiter that the old man tried to hang himself, the younger waiter asks, “Who cut him down? ” Thomson suggests the younger waiter was not thinking clearly because it is easier o lift someone up and untie the rope or to untie the rope itself than it is to cut the rope and let the person fall down.

The older waiter notes this, but decides to barb the younger waiter by replying, “His niece. ” He does this without further explanation of the particulars because he knows the younger waiter is completely disinterested anyway. This is shown by the younger waiter’s next response: “Why did they do it? ” Even though the older waiter said niece, the younger waiter responds with “they” suggesting he was not listening. Where the inconsistency is purported to occur in the original text, it is y feeling that the older waiter is still barbing the younger waiter, but the younger waiter’s aloofness prevents him from realizing this.

Younger waiter: “His niece looks after him. ” Older waiter: “I know. You said she cut him down. ” Taken literally there is no inconsistency because it was the younger waiter who suggested someone cut him down. The older waiter simply agreed with him. I could just imagine the scene when the older waiter said this to the younger waiter. His eyes would glance up, a thin smile would appear on his lips, but the younger waiter would not be looking. His onsternation would focused towards the old man who was keeping him from bed.

The older waiter was prodding the younger waiter for suggesting that to take care of the old man all one had to do was cut him down. When the younger waiter did not respond to his jab, the older waiter probably just shook his head and went on to tell him the old man was not so bad. This might be construed in some camps as just rank speculation, but I enjoy playing with the original text and trying to interpret what Hemingway wrote, not what Scribner’s wrote. Whether or not Hemingway intended this apparent anomaly to be interpreted this way is unknown, but I do believe he intended to write it as it was in the original text.

The effect of what Hemingway wrote must be analyzed through his style and usage of language, but it must be done through what he wrote and not what satisfies someone else’s common sense. Category: Book Reports Ernest Hemingway “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” was published by Scribner’s Magazine in March of 1933, but it was not until 1956 that an apparent inconsistency in the waiters’ dialogue was brought to Hemingway’s attention. Hemingway’s thirteen word reply to Judson Jerome, an Assistant Professor of English at Antioch College, said that he had read the story again and it still made perfect sense to him.

Despite this letter, Scribner’s republished “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” in 1965 with a slight change in the waiters’ dialogue that they argued would fix the apparent anomaly. Scribner’s decision to alter the original text, the letter Hemingway wrote to Professor Jerome, and several papers on the subject all add up to a literary controversy that still churns among Hemingway scholars. I will argue that the original text is the correct text and Scribner’s just failed to interpret it properly. They failed to notice nuances in Hemingway’s writing that appear throughout many of his other works.

They obviously thought Hemingway’s reply to Professor Jerome was made without notice of the inconsistency. Most important, I believe they did not evaluate the character of the two waiters in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. ” A careful examination of the character of each waiter can make it apparent that the original text was correct and that there was no need for Scribner’s to alter the text. The dialogue in question results from a conversation the two waiters have concerning the old man’s attempted suicide. One waiter asks “Who cut him down? , to which the other waiter replies “His niece. Later in the story, the original text appears to confuse who possesses the knowledge about the suicide. The waiter who previously said “His niece”, now says: “I Know.

You said she cut him down. ” This seems to assume the knowledge about the attempted suicide has either passed from one waiter to another, or that we have incorrectly attributed the first exchange to the wrong waiters. So which waiter asked about cutting down the old man? When the disputed dialogue between the two waiters takes place, we do not know enough about them to develop an outline of character.

As the story progresses, the character of the two waiters emerges through their dialogue and thoughts, as does many of Hemingway’s characters. Once the character of each waiter is developed and understood, the dialogue makes more sense when the story is read again. The older waiter, who is unhurried and can empathize with the old man, makes declarative and judgmental statements throughout the story. Much like Count Mippipopolous in “The Sun Also Rises”, the older waiter is a reflective man who understands life and is not compelled to rush his time. He says things that convey his nature: “The old man is clean.

He drinks without spilling. ” and “I am of those who like to stay late at the cafe. ” The older waiter shows concern for the old man and it would only be reasonable to assume that he knows a little about him. So if the older waiter knows about the attempted suicide, why did the original text “confuse” the issue? The younger waiter shows all the impatience of youth and an uncaring attitude towards the old man. He is more concerned about getting home to his wife and to bed before three than he is about the old man. This becomes obvious when he says, “An old man is a nasty thing.

We can assume hat because the younger waiter cares only that the old man pays his tab, he is not paying close attention to what the older waiter is saying about him. This might be viewed as a long inference, but taken with the original text it interprets quite clearly. We have seen that the older waiter possess the character of a man Hemingway would probably respect and admire. He is reserved, contemplative, judgmental, and possesses many of the characteristics of a Hemingway hero. The older waiter was trying to make sense of what he probably saw as an age of confusion.

The soldier that passes by suggests a onflict is occurring and adds to the old waiter’s perception of confusion. He was trying to tell the younger waiter how honest and decent it is just to sit in a clean cafe and drink a few brandies by yourself while trying to make sense of life. He tries to tell him that it is different to sit in a well-lighted cafe than it is to sit at a loud or dirty bar. The cafe is a place of quiet refuge and the older waiter understands this. The young waiter does not pay close attention to what the older waiter is saying because he is too concerned with his own affairs.

Understanding the differences in each waiter’s character and the nferences that can be drawn from them is crucial when attributing the dialogue to the waiter. Certain proposals made by Otto Reinert (1959) and Charles May (1971) about Hemingway’s unconventional presentation of dialogue can be debunked if it is assumed the waiters have consistent characters. Reinert and May suggest that Hemingway wrote two lines of dialogue, but intended them to be said by the same person who in this case would be the young waiter.

This would switch to whom the proceeding dialogue is attributed to and puts the younger waiter in the position of telling the older waiter about the old man’s attempted suicide. Reinert and May say that another double dialogue occurs when the older waiter says: “He must be eighty years old. Anyway I should say he was eighty. ” This switches the dialogue again and explains the apparent inconsistency in the original text when the older waiter says to the younger waiter, “You said she cut him down. This would work well, except the dialogue that Reinert and May suggests is said by the younger waiter does not seem in line with his character. I cannot accept that the older waiter is suddenly asking all the questions and that the younger waiter knows enough about the old man to answer them. While it is true that we are unable to know who speaks which line during the first two dialogues of the story, when taken as a whole the characters of the waiters emerge and we are able to attribute lines to each waiter.

The character of each waiter indicates to me that the older waiter knew about the old man and was therefore telling the younger waiter about him. If this is so, then the original text still appears to be inconsistent, but a look at Hemingway’s droll approach to humor will suggest otherwise. George H. Thomson’s article ” ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place’: Interpreting he Original Text” first gave me the idea that Hemingway might have imbued the older waiter with a dry humor that is found in other Hemingway characters.

Jacob Barnes in “The Sun Also Rises” and the narrator in “Green Hills of Africa” possess this dark humor and Hemingway uses it effectively to befuddle other characters or to add to the cynicism of a situation. The narrator in “Green Hills of Africa” pretends to aim at humans while hunting and the guide misunderstands and takes him seriously. In “The Sun Also Rises” Jake speaks of a woman with bad teeth smiling that “wonderful smile. The humor in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” is more subtle, but if it exists as Thomson speculates, then it clears up the apparent inconsistency in the waiters’ dialogue.

When the older waiter tells the younger waiter that the old man tried to hang himself, the younger waiter asks, “Who cut him down? ” Thomson suggests the younger waiter was not thinking clearly because it is easier to lift someone up and untie the rope or to untie the rope itself than it is to cut the rope and let the person fall down. The older waiter notes this, but decides to barb the younger waiter by replying, “His niece. ” He oes this without further explanation of the particulars because he knows the younger waiter is completely disinterested anyway.

This is shown by the younger waiter’s next response: “Why did they do it? ” Even though the older waiter said niece, the younger waiter responds with “they” suggesting he was not listening. Where the inconsistency is purported to occur in the original text, it is my feeling that the older waiter is still barbing the younger waiter, but the younger waiter’s aloofness prevents him from realizing this. Younger waiter: “His niece looks after him. ” Older waiter: “I know. You said she cut him down. ” Taken literally there is no inconsistency because it was the younger waiter who suggested someone cut him down.

The older waiter simply agreed with him. I could just imagine the scene when the older waiter said this to the younger waiter. His eyes would glance up, a thin smile would appear on his lips, but the younger waiter would not be looking. His consternation would focused towards the old man who was keeping him from bed. The older waiter was prodding the younger waiter for suggesting that to take care of the old man all one had to do was cut him down. When the younger waiter did not respond to his jab, the older waiter probably just hook his head and went on to tell him the old man was not so bad.

This might be construed in some camps as just rank speculation, but I enjoy playing with the original text and trying to interpret what Hemingway wrote, not what Scribner’s wrote. Whether or not Hemingway intended this apparent anomaly to be interpreted this way is unknown, but I do believe he intended to write it as it was in the original text. The effect of what Hemingway wrote must be analyzed through his style and usage of language, but it must be done through what he wrote and not what satisfies someone else’s common sense.

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