Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hopper meets Hemingway.

Edward Hopper's paintings, both "morning sun" and "sunday" seem to represent both the themes of Hemingway's "Soldier's Home" and "A Clean Well-Lighted Place." As discussed in class, both stories hold either a relative sense of nothingness, loneliness, hope, light, or darkness. Upon first glance at Edward Hopper's paintings, it is quickly noticed that both characters within the artwork are isolated and alone. Both hold expressions of contemplations within different environments, with the woman in "morning" representing more of Krebs, and the man in "sunday" showing a depiction of the old man, and possibly even the older waiter.

"Morning Sun" continously depicts a lonely, isolated sense as a woman is shown waking up to a bright day, and meditating upon her bed. I felt as if this painting represented Krebs in a very similar sense. "Soldier's Home" holds numerous scenes in which Krebs wakes up in the morning, and very rarely do we get a glimpse at physical darkness or lack of lighting, as morning and daytime seem to take up the story. "During this time, it was late summer, he was sleeping late in bed, getting up to walk down town to the library to get a book, eating lunch at home, reading on the front porch until he became bored and then walking down through the town to spend the hottest hours of the day[...]"(Hemingway 1) In the painting, the woman looks both relaxed and distressed in her position, as she has her legs drawn near her, normally representing gloom or lack of joy. The most interesting aspect of the picture is that sunlight is fully shining through the window, and that there is also a lack of darkness in the environment, just the way Krebs is in the story. However, the fact that there is plenty of light is misleading to the true emotions of the subjects. The woman looks as if she has something they want, but cannot find the motive to go at it, just as Krebs seeks love, but cannot find it. Both Krebs and the woman are obviously either missing something very much or can find nothing to do with a beautiful new day. I also noticed the fact that there are no other objects within the room besides her bed, showing the theme of "nothingness." Overall, just the fact that the painting is so simple also embodies the theme of "nothingness."

In my opinion, "Sunday" represents Hemingway's "A clean well-lighted place" in numerous ways. First of all, the obvious fact that the old man in the painting is sitting in front of a dark building which may represent a cafe draws the similarities. The man is giving off an aura of gloom, and even looks as if he just got kicked out of the building behind him. As in the story where the deaf old man gets kicked out by the young waiter, when all he wanted was a clean well lit place to spend his time doing virtually nothing, this old man in the painting looks as if he has nowhere else to go but the darkness itself. In my opinion, the attire of the man in the painting looks as if it is a waiter's(the older waiter), or even of wealthy background(the old man). He is obviously contemplating something, with a slumped body form, thinnking away into emptiness. There is virtually nothing around him besides a "dark" feeling, with no "well-lit" place to go.

1 comment:

Colleen V. said...

I liked your connection to the "Morning Sun" painting and the parts of "Soldier's Home" in which Krebs wakes up in the morning. Also, do you think a lack of a well lit place was what drove the old man in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" into depression, and later towards suicide? I agree with your comparison between negativity and darkness.