Thursday, May 15, 2008


Sometimes it is enough just to be. Edward Hopper's paintings "Morning Sun" and "Sunday" convey this sentiment brilliantly with their use of lighting and their mood of loneliness. Each painting centers around a single person, wrapped around his or herself, who is pensive and reflective. The subjects of thee two paintings seem to be absolutely contented to just sit. They seem to be embodying Hemingway's "nada" theory - while they may appear to be reflective, they are more likely just existing. The old man in "Sunday" actually looks as if he were painted as an accompaniment to "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" because he is so similar to the description of the old man in that story. The size of the man in proportion to the rest of the painting makes him seem insignificant, like a phantom past him prime - like nada. He is also reminiscent of Krebs in Hemingway's "Soldier's Home" because he is pulled into himself, as if he will not - or cannot - talk to anyone about his experiences. Krebs and the old man in "Sunday" are physically different, but they both seem to have transcended normal society because they no longer feel they belong.
The same analysis could be made about Krebs and the woman in "Morning Sun," although a stronger comparison is made between her and the old waiter in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." Although she is not smiling, she radiates a peaceful acceptance of her existence. Her coral dress and pink cheeks speak to her inner calm, and she stares into the light of the day. In this way she is similar to the old waiter because both characters like to be in the light - it is one of life's greatest, yet simplest, pleasures. Hopper's paintings reflect Hemingway's themes because both mediums translate the same message - for some, living is simply enough.

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