Hemingway ‘Stream of Consciousness’ to dramatise the
Hemingway begins by narrating his short story “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” in the ‘Third Person Omniscient Author’ point of view but soon switches over to the dramatic method. Most of the story is presented as a play in two scenes which is being enacted right in front of our eyes. The first scene begins with ‘Last week he tried to commit suicide,” one waiter said’ and ends with ‘The waiter watched him go down the street, a very old man walking unsteadily but with dignity. ‘ The second scene is the conversation between the married waiter whose wife is waiting for him at home and the older but lonely waiter.
This scene begins as soon as the old drunken customer leaves the restaurant. It begins thus, ‘ “Why didn’t you let him stay and drink? ” the unhurried waiter asked. They were putting up the shutters. “It is not half-past two. ” ‘ and ends with ‘ “No, thank you,” said the waiter and went out.
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‘ In the middle of this second scene is the most interesting portion which Hemingway foregrounds by resorting to the technique of ‘Stream of Consciousness’ to dramatise the consciousness and thoughts of the older and lonely waiter who is under tremendous amount of stress because of his realisation of the futility and meaninglessness of old age.It begins with, ‘ Turning off the electric light he continued the conversation with himself’ and ends with ‘ Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee. ‘ Hemingway has foregrounded the bitterness of the older waiter by parodying two of the most important daily prayers of Christians all over the world by the repeated repetition of ‘nada’ meaning ‘nothing’ to highlight the fact that in old age even religion does not provide the necessary comfort for the older waiter.Hemingway concludes his story by once again resorting to the ‘Third Person Omniscient Author’ method of narration which begins with ‘he disliked bars and bodegas’ till the end ‘many must have it. ‘ Thus Hemingway has used three ‘points of view’ in his short story: 1.
The Third Person Omniscient Author point of view which is functionally more narrative and descriptive . 2. The dramatic point of view in which the readers themselves are able to see the story being enacted right in front of their eyes. . Perhaps the most important, The Stream of Consciousness method which takes us deep into the mind of the old and lonely waiter so that we get to know his innermost thoughts from his own point of view.
The irony of situation being of course, that only the readers and the old and lonely waiter know what is going on within the mind of the old and lonely waiter and not the married waiter who is impatient to go home soon.