Introduction Ernest Hemingway is a well-known American writer in the twentieth century. His works have unique characteristics both in theme and writing style. Some critics think that his works are based on his own experiences and the time when he lived. Actually, Hemingway’s life was full of romance. He experienced many wars in his life. Because his works reflect the hurt that the war brings to human being and describe the loss of the beliefs of the generation after the World War I, he is regarded as the spokesman of the Lost Generation.
Hemingway’s short story A Clean and Well-Lighted Place was written in his early time, and is one of classical works of Hemingway’s style as well. In this short story, he mostly used short and simple sentences. The theme of nothingness is a controversial and popular topic in modern literature. In order to understand the novel and the author’s minds, this thesis makes an analysis of the novel from different angles, including the general biography of Hemingway, the writing background of the novel, the characters in the novel, the writing style of the short story, and the theme of nada.In the past, some people thought Hemingway’s minds were pessimistic, and A Clean and Well-Lighted Place was a classic novel of nihilism. In the author’s opinion, A Clean and Well-Lighted Place makes the readers to ponder over the meaning of life and is worthy of reading and studying. I.
The Background of the Author and the Novel Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) is a well-known American novelist and short story writer in modern times, and one of the most celebrated and influential authors in the twentieth century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954 for his short story—The Old Man and the Sea.Moreover, when referring to Hemingway, he is always related with the Lost Generation. It is certain that Hemingway’s life is full of romance. His special experience makes his works represent a generation, and still has a great influence on modern literature. If Hemingway’s novel is studied, it is definite to make a research on Ernest Hemingway himself at first. A.
The General Biography of Hemingway Ernest Hemingway was born in a doctor family in Chicago in 1899. When he was a child, he liked fishing and hunting. He often spent his summer outdoors with his father.This experience made him adapt to the outdoor life. In 1917, after being graduated from the Middle School, Hemingway became a journalist of the Star Time,where he received strict professional training as a journalist. During the First World War, because of the eye illness, Hemingway cannot join the army in the front. He finally volunteered to join the Red Cross of America and became a driver in the ambulance corps.
In one mission of rescuing the wounded, Hemingway was seriously wounded and then went back to his hometown. He quickly became a hero at that time.Later, he went to Paris and expatriated there as a journalist of the Star Time of Canada. Since then, Hemingway started his life of literature production. Hemingway’s first novel was The Sun also Rises (1926). The book describes a group of Americans and Englishmen, who have suffered a lot physically and emotionally during the war. A Farewell to Arms (1929) recalls the suffering and destruction of the World War I, talking about the love story between an American officer and a British nurse who met in the war-torn Italy.
This book is partly based on Hemingway’s own experience at the Italian front.Death in the Afternoon (1932) describes the bullfighting. Besides, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) is an important novel about the Spanish Civil War. Most of these works take the war as background, describing the pains the war brings to human being, and reflecting a younger generation’s aimlessness after the war. At that time, these works immediately won the responses from many people who survived the war physically but were afterwards spiritually and morally adrift. Then, Hemingway became the spokesman for what the Gertrude Stein had called “The Lost Generation”.Hemingway is famous for his literary style: simple, understated, and direct.
He was at his best describing physical activity. His short story A Clean and Well-Lighted Place was written in his early time, which has a typical Hemingway’s style. Hemingway successfully created a series of characters, who suffered a lot but still kept dignity. Unfortunately, he finally chose to commit suicide to end his life. As it has been mentioned above, Hemingway experienced many wars in all his life. In the middle of 1930s, he went to Span, becoming the reporter of battlefield about Spanish Civil War.During the World War II, he was a soldier against the fascist.
The war had left endless pains both on his body and spirit. Like the characters he created, he preferred to choose dignity. B. The Lost Generation Lost Generation is a literature school original in American in the twentieth century. Lost Generation refers to the generation after the World War I. Meanwhile, it also refers to the young writers who lived as expatriates in Western Europe for a short time. Besides Hemingway, there is Lewis Mumford, Ezra Pound, T.
S. Eliot, Matthew, Sherwood Anderson, and many other novelists.The Lost Generation is also called the Sad Young Man by F. Scott Fitzgerald in his book which describes the disillusioned younger generation after the First World War. The Lost Generation was a group of rebellious youth appeared in America after the First World War. The 1920s was an age of Prohibition. Alcoholic beverages were outlawed by a constitutional amendment.
However, young people cheerfully evaded the law in thousands of “speakeasies” (illegal bars). They played jazz, took drugs and bravely denunciated the Puritan morality and the social convention.At the same time, a lot of works appeared to reflect these young men’s depression and sad emotion. They seemed to lose their directions for the future. The Lost Generation’s writers held many common points. At first, all of them were weary of the imperialistic wars but cannot find the way out. Expatriation was another common point.
Many young writers had an experience living in the European countries, especially in Paris. Although the government pronounced “recovering the atmosphere before the war”, war had left deep hurt in people’s heart.Therefore, the writers’ self-exile became the way escaping from the reality. Actually, the young people’s rebellion was inevitable. It must be remembered that the revolt was not confined within the United States, but affected the entire Western world as the result of the aftermath of the first serious war in a century. Although the government was reluctant to admit, the United States was not isolated from the outside world any more. The October Revolution quickly swept across all over the world, and exposed the inherent contradiction of capitalism.
The booming of the industry made the traditional value out of work at that time. The war acted as a direct blasting fuse. The young people’s revolt started with the World War I. At the beginning of the war, people were still idealistic towards the war with the typical American adventurousness. By the strenuous jingoism Theodore Roosevelt’s enhancement, the young men began to enlist under foreign flags. At the same time, all the media such as radios, televisions and newspapers propagated the optimism at the front.Moreover, the government tried its best to persuade the youth to join “the glorious war” under the slogan of “democracy” through which they could realize their personal value.
Thus the young men of college age who knew little about modern warfare took part in the European conflicts with the idealistic dream against war and the excitement of the military adventure. However, after witnessing the massacre of human being and tasting the cruelty of modern warfare, the young men began to realize that the war was not the one they thought before. They felt cheated by the government.This turning of mind made them angry. After being fed up with the pains of the war, a lot of soldiers returned home. However, it was despaired to return to a home town totally untouched by the wars and they found their old jobs had been taken by those who did not join in the war. Because of the recession of economy, they could not find a new job.
At the same time, the small villages they lived in were uncomfortable to them. They found that the citizens still talked about the war bombastically, which made them guilty for two or three years.The “Lost Generation” was never lost actually. In the book—Backgrounds of American Literature Thought , it was written that “It (The Lost Generation) was shocked, uprooted for a time, bitter critical, rebellious, iconoclastic, experimental, often absurd, more often misdirected—but never ‘lost’”. (Zhang Hanxi, P165, 1995) The achievement in literature can prove this point of view. A lot of great works was produced by the Lost Generation. Generally speaking, the Lost Generation was a group of people who were sobered up by the War.