Sunday, May 18, 2008

Nada and Nothingness

Most if not all of Hemingway's writings carry this same kind of motif of nothingness and the characters search for purpose in the story. In the "Soldiers Home' piece the nothingness factor is prevalent in the soldiers lifestyle. In my opinion the soldier left himself, his ambitions, and his soul out there on the battlefield. His new lackluster attitude can be attributed to this. The soldiers life is now full of darkness because his purpose is lost, or rather he has lost his sense of purpose and ambition. He sleeps in late and seems to have no will nor want to find himself a job. After reading this piece I thought that it kind of mirrored the tone in the "Sunday" painting. The old man sitting on the sidewalk looks extremely lonely like he has nowhere to go and no person to confide in. The thing that really conveys the nothingness factor in this painting are the black empty store windows behind him and because he is the only person in the painting. Another reason that makes this painting almost verge on creepy for me is that it is called Sunday meaning that the day designated in the painting is actually Sunday. On a normal Sunday, the way I think of one anyway, contains many people bustling about trying to go to church or to the morning grocer. This in itself makes the painting feel very hollow and empty.

In "A Clean and Well-lighted Place" Hemingway's character takes pleasure in the fact that he sits alone in an empty corner drinking. I found this piece to be slightly satirical in a sense because i think that Hemingway was trying to make a point. Maybe he was trying to convey his point that people need to sometimes be alone to be at peace with the world. In the same way that light and dark are contrasted in the "morning sun" these two states are also contrasted in Hemingway's writing. The lady that sits alone on her bed sits in the shadows even though sunlight is poring in upon her room. Her isolation in the picture continues the feeling from the first painting as well. The old man in the bar is very interesting because he is trying to become drunk to escape from the world around him. Even though the man is deaf Hemingway says that the old man can feel the difference by the sound of the silence. I think that the old man enjoys the "Nada" that the empty bar provides for him because it allows him peace and tranquility. In this sense I think that the old man in the bar is very different from both the paintings and the other writings because where he enjoys the nothingness and the Nada as his escape from the world around him, the other characters seem lost and isolated, confined without a clear sense of purpose. The isolation factor and the loss of purpose provide common ground for all of the objects collectively.

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