Table of Contents
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
Adjectives and Adverbs
Simple Present and Present Progressive
Approach and structure
This workshop aims to clarify and to deepen the use of adjectives versus adverbs as well as the differences between the simple present and the present progressive in the German Oberstufe, i.e. grade 11-12 (Gymnasium), 12-13 (Stadtteilschule). In this context it introduces the students to modernist English literature by dealing with Ernest Hemingway's 1933 short story A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.
The Hamburger Bildungsplan explains how project work combines the three didactic principles, student-, activity- as well as process-orientation. It fosters the students' proficiencies in all competence areas (see Bildungsplan Gymnasium 16) (communication competence, intercultural competence and method competence (see 13)). In this context The Hamburger Bildungsplan demands the fostering of a text and media competence (see Bildungsplan Oberstufe 1). Further, it states the importance of a solidified repertoire of extended grammatical structures, as well as a structural awareness for the English language (see Bildungsplan Gymnasium 25). It further accentuates the development of an awareness of analogies and differences between languages (see ibid.).
First I will introduce the short story A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway and briefly analyse the theme and plot. In the next two chapters I will outline the adjectives and adverbs that are being used and refer to phrases in simple present and in present progressive. In the following chapters I will outline the approach and structure of the workshop and then detail the lessons. The material for the workshop is listed in the appendix.
2. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
Hemingway's short story A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, first published in 1933 in Scribner's Magazine, tells of an old, deaf and lonely man sitting in a cafe savouring the evening. In his short story an omniscient narrator, dialogues, as well as a monologue are being used. The different narrative perspectives give the reader a cinematic and impartial view into the characters, storyline and setting. The omniscient narrator gives the reader access to the old man, whose name remains unknown, sitting alone in the cafe, as well as the surroundings and atmosphere. The narration is factual and yet carries emotion. The reader senses the mingling of sadness and dejection, and yet finding joy in the moment through the notably descriptive narration. The omniscient narrator, describing the old man, provides a contrast to the dialogue between the two waiters. It creates a contrast to the old man, who is savouring the evening.
As mentioned in the title of the short story “Well-Lighted Place”, the lightening of the cafe is essential to the theme. It is something the old, deaf man enjoys. Maybe the visual aspects are very important to the man because of his deafness, and thus the visual sensory impressions prevail and are of great meaning to him. The reader notices that the words “day” (Hemingway 1) and “night” (ibid.), as well as “light” (ibid.) and “shadow” (ibid.) are connected to each other and create a rhetorical contrast (antitheton). Also the words “leaves” (ibid.) and “tree” (ibid.), “suicide” (ibid.), “despair” (ibid.) and “nothing” (5), as well as “paying” (1) and “money” (ibid.) are affiliated. In regard to the historical context, the words “paying” (ibid.) and “money” (ibid.) relate to the Wall Street Crash in October of 1929. The old man, however, has “plenty of money” (ibid.), and still he is lonely and described as very vulnerable, regarding his age, being deaf, and being left a widower.
Hemingway uses several rhetorical devices in his short story. The antithetons “day” (Hemingway 1) and “night” (ibid.), as well as “light” (ibid.) and “shadow” (ibid.) also serve as metaphors. They could stand vicariously for life and death. “[I]n the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light” (ibid.). The words “leaves” (ibid.) and “tree” (ibid.), which stand in the same sentence as the words “shadow” (ibid.) and “light” (ibid.), could also stand metaphorically, as well as symbolically, for life. The word “dew” (ibid.) could stand symbolically for dawn and daybreak. In comparison, the word “dust” (ibid.) is a metaphor and symbol for death and transitoriness. “[T]he old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference” (ibid.). This predicate is especially interesting in regards to an introspective point of view of the old man, as well as the embodied antithetical rhetoric. The old man enjoys the silence, even though he is deaf. The words “dust” (ibid.), “night” (ibid.), “drunk” (ibid.) and “nothing” (ibid.) are repeated throughout the text and thus emphasized and stressed. Especially the repetition of the word “nothing” (ibid.) in the end of the first passage, stands out to the reader. "»He was in despair.« »What about?« »Nothing.« »How do you know it was nothing?«” (ibid.) Although the waiters use it in a succinct kind of way, meaning unimportant, insignificant or immaterial, the word in itself is very profound and heartfelt and conveys the emotional situation of the old man. He is left with “nothing” (ibid.). Especially the words “nothing” (5) and “nada” (ibid.) are being repeated throughout the short story and especially at the end of it. They thus embody and convey the central theme of the story. The word choice in Hemingway's short story sets up a distinction between nature and man-made, as well as between life and death, youth and old age, and happiness and sorrow.
Hemingway's short story provides a broad variety for different curricular requirements and aims in the Hamburger Bildungsplan. The Hamburger Bildungsplan demands the development of a socio-cultural understanding and knowledge. In this context it demands the subject of discrimination and social marginalisation and its effects on individuals (see Bildungsplan Gymnasium 27). The short story's main themes are loneliness, sorrow and love and gratitude as well as socio-cultural differences and therefore serves as a subject for the required topics. The short story also requires the students to use and develop text-exploitation- techniques, because of its complex narrative and theme structure, which is also demanded in the Hamburger Bildungsplan (see 29). Also, the rhetorical structure of A Clean, Well-Lighted Place requires the students to identify relevant and important aspects in style and content and thus serves a sufficient subject for the practicing of writing summaries and analyses', which are required in the German Oberstufe and Abitur exam (see ibid.).
3. Adjectives and Adverbs
Adjectives describe the features, traits and characters of nouns. Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, adverbs and phrases and sentences. Adverbs delineate: manner, place, time, duration, frequency, focusing, degree, certainty or necessity, viewpoint, linking and they are evaluative. Conjunctive adverbs describe time, cause and effect emphasis, contrast, comparison and addition. Differentiating these two word classes can be difficult for students with German as their first language, because the words often do not change in the different word classes. Therefore it is important to rehearse these grammar points. Ernest Hemingway is known for using adjectives and adverbs in a wide and particular range. The essence and heart of A Clean, Well-Lighted Place is created by the use of these word classes. Hemingway's expansive use of adjectives and adverbs prevails in in such a way, that even the students may notice their significance and A Clean, Well-Lighted Place is therefore a great subject for the rehearsal and deeper understanding of adjectives and adverbs.
The words and especially the adjectives and adverbs in the short story seem dreary and gloomy, and reflecting on evanescence. They delineate the tone of the story.
Adjectives: “late” (Hemingway 1), “electric” (ibid.), “dusty” (ibid.), “deaf” (ibid.), “quiet” (ibid.), “drunk” (ibid.), “good” (ibid.), “empty” (ibid.), “old” (ibid.), “every” (2), “better” (3), “lonely” (ibid.), “nasty” (ibid.), “clean” (ibid.), “stupid” (ibid.), “drunken (ibid.), “unhurried” (ibid.), “more (4), “same” (ibid.) “unjust” (ibid.), “different” (ibid.), “dressed” (ibid.), “beautiful” (ibid.), “reluctant” (ibid.), “open” (5), “pleasant” (ibid.), “lighted” (ibid.), “electric” (ibid.), ”necessary” (ibid.), “bright” (ibid.), “unpolished” (ibid.), “[ma]ny” (ibid.)