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In Ernest Hemingways short story A Clean Well-Lighted Place the concept of nada is the central and most important theme As described by Carlos Baker Nada is a Something called Nothing which is so huge terrible overbearing inevitable and omnipresent that once experienced it can never be forgotten Baker 124 It is a metaphysical state that symbolizes the chaos in everyones lives Some people have it more than others and some deal with this idea differently that others Either way nada is an uncontrollable force that should never be forgotten Steven Hoffman believes that the only way to approach the Void is to develop a very special mode of being the concrete manifestation of which is the clean well-lighted place Hoffman 176 This cafe is a warrior against this nothingness The place is clean pleasant and orderly There is no music It is a plain and simple refuge against the lonely dark world that awaits outside Hemingway 256 However this cafe must close at some time or another thus proving that the cafe isnt enough to combat the nada It is not even a place but an artificial man-made building that tries to fight against this real idea of nada If one has the internal qualities cleanliness and inner vision they can cope with the nothingness even outside of the cafe The old waiter is a prime example At times the old man lacks these qualities thus not being able to cope with the darkness On the other hand the young waiter has no concept of this idea thus making him not even realize how powerful it can be The old waiter is the most important character in A Clean Well-Lighted Place The old waiter has completely grasped the concept of nada and is able to deal with it Hemingway says What did he fear It was not fear or dread It was a nothing that he knew too
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