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A Clean Well Lighted Place Essay

1677 words - 7 pages

A Clean Well-Lighted Place

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway looks at age from the viewpoint of an inexperienced and experienced individual, with the aid of an old man to emphasize the difference between the two. This story takes place late one night in a caf. The caf is clean, pleasant, and well lighted, which brings some kind of comfort to the atmosphere. Here in the caf sits a deaf, lonely, older man, who although is deaf can feel the difference that the night brings to the caf, a younger waiter, who believes people stay around the caf to make his life miserable, and a waiter who is a bit older and seems to understand that this place, the caf, is comforting. The older man spends his late nights in the caf, because at his home there is nobody, he is widowed. All he has is the comfort that the light inside the caf brings to him at night, and the appearance and thought of other human beings may bring him. The old man is under the care of his niece, who last week had to cut him down from his attempting to commit suicide. Why did he attempt to kill himself? He was in despair. Stated one waiter, and I am assuming it is the younger waiter because he goes on to state that he was in despair over nothing because he has plenty money. Money would be the answer to any problem to an individual of youth because when one is younger he/she has not yet come to realize the importance of relationships. The older waiter shows us the importance of relationships by stating, Each night I am reluctant to close up because there may be some one who needs the caf. This appearing to mean that he knows that there are many lonely people in the world without relationships and no one to turn to in time of need or having some one to just be able to communicate with. Hemingway gives us another look on the inexperience and experience of age with the scene of the young girl and solider walking through the street.

The dialog about the couple between the two waiters is classic. The older waiter states, The guard will pick him up, then the younger waiter goes on to say What does it matter if he gets what he is after? I believe this conversation shows a dramatic difference in age between these two men, while the older waiter knows and thinks about the consequences and effects his actions will place upon him, the younger waiter does not and lives for the moment, which is a typical characteristic of youth. As one grows older they come to realize the differences in living for the moment and living for the moment in a rational way. One can still live for the moment and be spontaneous but do it in a way that it will not have high consequences upon others. Late into the night the younger waiter cuts the old man off of the brandy so he could lock up and get home to his own wife. The young man believes his time is too valuable to waste on people whom have nobody or nowhere to go. What is an hour? More to me than to him. This young man does not actually believe that...

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