This story presents an opportunity to understand the iceberg hurry and the Story he wrote in 1933. In order to better understand this story one must understand the iceberg theory. Hemingway was quoted by saying, “[he] always [tried] to write on the principle of the iceberg’ (Humiliatingly). “Manuscript evidence alone reveals that Hemingway was a highly self-conscious writer who gradually developed the iceberg theory to explain, justify, and ground his revolutionary style. Yet while influences on Hemingway prose style have attracted sustained interest, little has been said about the origin of his iceberg theory” (Moreland).
There have been any different interpretations on analyzing the iceberg theory and the relationship it has with Hemmingway writing, but it all boils down to having the reader understand the entire context in which it was written. Modernism is known for having ambiguity within its stories and it promotes readers to have an understanding within the unconscious minds of the characters that each story presents. Hemingway presented “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” (1933) in an uninformative manner by choosing to use this iceberg principle, and it left this story open to each reader having a different conscious feeling towards the meaning behind it.
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In the beginning of the story Hemingway illustrates the darkness that the old man brings to the story. The old man’s presence is a symbol of emotions felt, a feeling of his past that has emotionally affected his presence of wanting to sit late in the night. His loneliness is depicted by him “[feeling] the difference” between day and night but still being able to sense tranquility (Hemingway). This presents an opportunity to dig into the story and see what was happening during the time Hemingway published this story.
Hemingway chose to write about two themes during the time this story was written. During the 1 93(Yes, Hemingway chose to write about “ideological abstractions” during the Spanish Civil War (Hemingway 2204). The abstraction found within this story is found through Hemingway iceberg theory and having the reader know about what history was taking place. The girl and soldier are presented in Hemingway past by the use of the word “shone” (Hemingway). A past that was known well to the fascism parties across Europe between 1919 and 1945 (Galileo).
Having a better understanding of the history that what was taking place during the fascism parties across Europe helps the reader better understand the existence of people across Europe. A question of existence from the form of fascism is what many people faced during this time (Galileo). Hemingway chose to highlight this small detail by having a quick frame of reference to the time in which it was written, and it is up to the reader to see if they pick up on it. His technique helps the reader determine which conscious feelings they have for what is being said throughout the dialogue.
The elderly man portrays an empty life of nothing but this story is told through two different opinions found in the dialogue. There is a younger waiter and an older titer who open the dialogue just before Hemingway introduction to the time frame of this story. “No one, when first reading the story, can know which waiter is saying, as the dialogue opens,”(Kerned) “Last week he tried to commit suicide” (Hemingway). This gives the reader question into which waiter is speaking throughout the entire story but clues are giving throughout the text to determine which waiter is speaking.
The inconsistency of the dialogue compliments the iceberg theory so well that the reader has to pay attention to word choice, in order to improve their chances of understanding TTS meaning. “You said she cut him down,” (Hemingway) proves to be that, “he,” has been the assignment of which waiter is the younger and older one, and gives the story interpretation to those who view it as emptiness (Kerned). The younger waiter misleads the reader by his interpretation of getting what he is after. From the beginning of the story, his careless remarks are understood when he mentions the soldier “[getting] what he’s after’ (Hemingway).
His ignorance is carried through other remarks, “[y]o should have killed yourself last week,” (Hemingway) to the deaf man, showcases that is self callousness and display towards the despaired old man is only an illustration of his own self doubt (Kerned). This would be very hard to determine if one did not understanding the underlying meaning behind what each waiter represented. Hemingway gives the reader an opportunity to imply that the younger waiter has confidence and a wife at home, but with a closer observation, this is not so.
The younger waiter, who believes people stay around the cafe© to make his life miserable, does not understand that the cafe© is a comforting place to a man who has nothing. All the old man has is he comfort that the light brings to him during his restless lonely nights, and the appearance of other individuals around him bring him comfort to not being alone. “We are two different kinds,” is only self-doubt found within the older waiter and his questioning of existence (Hemingway). Both waiters are observed through this reading but the reader is tasked with having to decipher which is saying what.
This presents the framework of Hemingway writing grace and gives an experienced reader the chance to see what is the underlying meaning of this story. After the younger waiter hurries off home o his wife the older waiter takes his time, continuing their argument in his mind. He realizes that life, when it comes down to it, is simply meaningless and that we all need a brightly lit pleasant place to sit to avoid thinking about the dark demons of death and nothingness. “Existential depression is yet another technique Hemingway uses to convey the story’s underlying theme.
A loss of faith erases any chance of having a normal life” (Moreland). The old man’s attempt to commit suicide, and the old waiter’s interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer, are the symptoms of the depression they both suffer. The monger waiter resists the idea that he could be that old man some day – proving his ignorance – and he thinks that his youth and confidence will last forever. Yet the older waiter stops at a bar, but finds that it’s not to his liking, and continues home, ruefully commenting that his malaise is probably just insomnia.
However, the story gloomily concludes that these valuable things are ultimately, like everything else, defenseless against the ventilating nothingness of existence. Hemingway style of stripped-down writing is presented within this story and his principle of the iceberg is seen throughout his entire story (Kerned). The reader is tasked to understand which waiter is saying what and by the end Of the Story, it is clear that the older waiter is the one who gains the most from what has taken place.
His lesson is seen as wisdom gained from observing what took place within the cafe© and reflects upon his own existence within the world. Hemingway, much like the waiters, gives readers a conventional way to challenge its audience in understanding the meaning behind it. His technique and form of writing through the modernist era of literature attacks each reader with the iceberg principle. It halogens its audience to individually express his words with interpretation towards their own conscious minds.