The language of “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway is overly simple and extremely concise. With the exception of a few narrative passages, most of the sentences are very short, using direct speech or dialogue. Descriptive words are only used in connection with the setting or some of the characters, yet they are rather journalistic, presenting things as they appear to be, without giving them too much-hidden meanings via metaphorical or figurative speech.
Most short stories create imagery through the use of descriptive words which form figures of speech such as epithets, metaphors, similes, symbols, etc. In Hemingway’s writing, however, the author mainly relies on direct speech to convey his story. Even so, we can still identify some narrative stylistic devices related to language:
- Rhetorical question
In the short story, the café and the night time versus the light play a symbolic role. The café is like a symbolic shelter from the absurdity of existence, from nothingness and chaos.