Hemingway's Story "A Clean Well Lighted Place."

1042 words - 4 pages

Three Generations of A ManWhat is so different about an old man and young man? The difference between the two is their outlook on life. Ernest Hemingway tells a story about this in "A Clean Well-Lighted Place." In this story, there are three men, two of whom look at the world in the same light. There are differences and similarities of these three men, and just age can alter one's perspective on life.Oldsey states that "the younger waiter, impatient and confident, does not understand the old man who has come to the café to drink away his loneliness and fear"(32). The young man sees the world as it should be seen by what he thinks is right. In my view, he could be considered a cynic. He is just so unbelievably negative in everything he says and selfish in everything he does. In a lot of what he says, he is always in one way or another talking about himself. Take for instance when the young man says "He'll stay all night" he said to his colleague "I'm sleepy now. I never get into bed before three o'clock. He should have killed himself last week" (159). What does that say about a man's character, when he wishes another man dead? He's so selfish that he even says "I don't want to look at him. I wish he would go home. He has no regard for those who must work"(160) If he doesn't like his work why does he stay? His line of work is to serve people and yet all he ever does is complain about it because he is so self-absorbed and only into what is happening in his life.The young man is a disgusting slob and we see that in a couple different aspects of the story. He's not very careful when he pours the old man another brandy. Hemingway states that "the waiter poured on into the glass so that the brandy slopped over and ran down the stem into the top saucer of the pile"(159). Benert says, "The older waiter is equally concerned that his 'place' be clean"(2). The younger waiter doesn't care about cleanliness. He just wants out as soon as possible. That's another thing about the young man. He is always in a hurry. The younger man has everything as stated by the older waiter. "You have youth, confidence, and a job" The older waiter said. "You have everything"(160) The younger man wishes the old man would just buy a bottle and go home and drink. The older waiter however says "its not the same." The younger waiter agrees and says "no, its not. 'He did not wish to be unjust. He was only in a hurry'"(160). The younger man's character does differ greatly from that of the older waiters as we will see.The older waiter knows that he and the younger waiter are two very different people. The older waiter states that "I am of those who like to stay late at the café, with all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a...

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