“A Clean Well Lighted Place” and “Hills Like White Elephants”.
Two of Ernest Hemingway’s most famously short, short stories are “A Clean Well Lighted Place” and “Hills Like White Elephants.” These stories readily lend themselves to joint treatment because of their symbolism, dialogue, and setting. Though these two stories were written years apart, there are many similarities in the actions and reactions of the characters. Many of the actions and reactions of the situations in the stories are ones that would be made by people today. There are always two typical types of characters in a Hemingway story; the wise, compassionate, knowledgeable character and the ignorant, self-absorbed, careless character, and these two stories are no exception.
Primarily, Hemingway is a master of implication in fiction. In much of his work, Hemingway does not provide the reader with enough information to make necessary moral judgments. He might omit an element of the plot or simply imply something without verbally stating it. Such omissions “create confusion calling for concentration and solution.” “He also uses the setting of his stories to reinforce the ongoing situation, characterization, and theme.” ( Bruccoli page 225) .
However, Hemingway’s confusion is only a superficial clouding of a fictional point, perhaps only a word dropped from a piece of dialogue or a name unmentioned in a crucial moment. The resulting missed beat is picked up immediately even subconsciously by the attentive reader, enhancing his experience of involvement in the story. .
In “A Clean Well Lighted Place” and “Hills Like White Elephants,” Hemingway emphasizes the use dialogue to convey the feelings of the characters involved in the story. In “Clean Well Lighted Place,” there are four characters in the story, but no exchange involves more than two at any one moment. The main part of the story is a conversation between a young waiter and an older waiter, discussing the old man’s life and their views on the way he has chosen to live his older years.