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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: Critical Analysis

The short story by Ernest Hemingway titled A Clean, Well-Lighted Place is a bright example of the psychological literature in which all sins of human beings are revealed. In this story, Hemingway manages to illustrate the eternal differences between human beings through the short dialog of two waiters in a café. The major difference between these waiters that illustrate the two major groups of people in the human society is revealed in the following lines: “Last week he tried to commit suicide,” one waiter said. – “Why?” – “He was in despair.” – “What about?” – “Nothing.” – “How do you know it was nothing?” – “He has plenty of money.”” (Klotz and Abcarian, 2006, p. 125). These few words show how different people might be in their attitudes towards others and their living values.

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Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin is another example of skillful psychological literature work. This story has also racial coloring as it deals with the issues of the life of African Americans in the 1960s USA. The major parts of the story are its opening and ending. What connects these two parts is the transition that the narrator, one of the story protagonists, experiences in his attitude towards his brother Sonny. At the beginning of the story, the narrator is sorry to learn about their drug problems of Sonny but has no intention to help him get out of trouble. At the end of Sonny’s Blues, the narrator and Sonny are the closest people as they write letters to each other and spend days talking and exchanging ideas about life (Klotz and Abcarian, 2006, p. 138). Finally, Sonny takes his brother to the blues concert he performs in and this moment celebrates the restored unity of his brother that seemed to be broken at the beginning of the story.

The story titled Everyday Use by Alice Walker is also a bright piece of literary work that focuses mainly on familial and cultural relations of African American people. Narrated by Mrs. Johnson, also known as Mama, this story depicts the controversy observed between the people who are committed to their roots, like Maggie, and those who display this alleged commitment for public attention, like Dee. However, the story’s protagonist is Mama, whose strength manifested in bringing up two children is often confronted by her main weakness, i. e. inability to protest the often unreasonable and hostile actions of her older daughter Dee (Klotz and Abcarian, 2006, p. 145). This woman, the Mama, is perceived as physically and morally strong by the readers, but her weakness is in her love for Dee, based on which she cannot stop her daughter from negative actions.

In the story, Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter Chitra Divakaruni considers another aspect of the psychological literature and addresses the inner world of the story’s protagonist, Mrs. Dutta, and her concept of happiness. Having thought for her whole life that happiness is in serving the needs of her family and her husband, Mrs. Dutta realizes that he was wrong when she comes to America with her two children and understands that the children do not need her to serve them, cook their meals, or wash their clothes (Klotz and Abcarian, 2006, p. 159). Seeing this and having received a letter from Mrs. Basu who inquired about her feeling happy, Mrs. Dutta reconsiders her values and understands that it is coming back to India that can make her happy as in America there is nothing that can bring her this feeling; neither children nor household work.

Works Cited

Klotz, Marvin and Richard Abcarian. Literature: the human experience. Shorter ninth edition, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 7). A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: Critical Analysis.

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"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: Critical Analysis." StudyCorgi, 7 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: Critical Analysis." November 7, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: Critical Analysis." November 7, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: Critical Analysis." November 7, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: Critical Analysis'. 7 November.

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