A Clean Well-Lighted Place By Ernest Hemingway

819 Words 4 Pages
In the darkness of midnight, one well lit cafe is a refuge from loneliness for men, each with their own beliefs and attitudes. During a time in which the world is full of hardship and pain in the years following World War I, many men have given up hope, however, they still have the will to carry out the rest of their lives with honor. In “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” Hemingway uses his three characters to show that there is no meaning to life, yet mankind still has the desire to live through the nothingness with dignity. Hemingway describes the old customer as a drunk and deaf old man sitting in the shadows of the cafe. Even though the old man is lonely and seems to have given up, Hemingway writes in small details to show that he does have a will to live through the nothingness with grace: “the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night …show more content…
The older waiter on the other hand knows that hardship will come eventually and so he is patient with the young man when he chooses to close the cafe early. This young man is a complete foil of the older waiter. This is a man who is all about his pride; when the older waiter jokes to him not to leave early in case he finds his wife with another man, he gets offended. Proving to the the older waiter he isn't worried about it, he states, “‘I have confidence. I am all confidence’” (63). He doesn't care to understand what the old customer finds comfort in. Hemingway uses this character to show the younger person's point of view; this young waiter has not had a lot of life experiences to make him see that it is all meaningless. The young waiter is immature and lets his frustrations of being at work out on the customer; while pouring his drink he tells him that, “‘he should have killed himself last week’”(16). He believes he has everything, and maybe he does, but he hasn't figured out that everything is also

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