Imagery is the first element shown when describing the cafe??. (1st arcograph) The elements of light and dark come into play when talking about the “Old man who sat in the shadow the leaves Of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference. (75) The depiction of these sentences helps the reader understand where the setting is taking place; it also shows how much light and dark play significant roles in the story. The old man is described again in the next paragraph as he, “sat in the had of the leaves of the tree that moved slightly in the wind,” which emphasizes the fact that it is late and he is in the shadows by himself. At this point in the story, the older waiter begins to understand the old man in the cafe?? and sympathizes with his need for a clean, well-lighted place. 5) The next element of style as seen in the story is symbolism. Symbolism plays an important part in understanding “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. ” In paragraph 75 where the two waiters are saying goodnight to each other, the point of view shifts, and the symbolism becomes very clear to the reader. First, when the older waiter continues the conversation with himself after the younger waiter has left for the evening, he begins to show signs of despair in his own character.
He proceeds to make a mockery of the Lord’s Prayer, and then continues with Hail Mary, which can be interpreted as a structure of a joke, just not in the meaning. The reason this becomes symbolic is because the story is about religion and being Catholic, and being a Catholic, it is believed to be a sin if you commit suicide and you do not go to Heaven. The older man stated the prayer by saying “Our Nadia who art in Nadia, Nadia be thy name… ” Which he is inferring that he feels nothing, nothing is there and nothing is going to help.
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Irony is the other element of style found in the story. In the closing lines of “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” it is evident that the author and the waiter are not identical. (p. 181) In the last line of the story, the older waiter says to himself “After all it is probably only insomnia. Many must have it. ” After reading the entire story and then reading the quotation prior, the reader already knows that this is not just “insomnia,” but the waiter’s grim view of Nadia” or nothingness.
The irony of this sentence explains that he does not realize he is dropping into despair because he is in denial. The theme of despair in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” is clearly depicted through all three elements of style: imagery, symbolism, and irony. Each element of style helps the reader to fully understand the importance of the older waiters’ denial therefore leading him into despair. In order to overcome this fear or denial one must have an understanding of faith specifically Catholicism as seen in the story.