Theme Of Loneliness In Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Good Essays
‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place’ is a short story written by an American author known as Ernest Hemingway. The story was at first distributed in 1933 in the Scribner’s Magazine. The plot is staged in a late night café centering on an old man who happens to be deaf and is reveler on this particular night. Being the only client of the evening, he prefers dining when the night grows still (Hemingway 149). From the old man's way of life, there is evidence of theme of loneliness with the old man preferring the tranquility of a silent night alone. The loneliness of the old man is noticeable by his desire while sitting at the café, to get drunk when he asks the waiter for some more brandy. The author is possible using alcohol in the story as a way within …show more content…
The old man gets into the café because he wants to be around people, even though he is sitting alone. When the older waiter jokingly asked the younger waiter if he was afraid to go home alone, the younger waiter affirmed by saying that he was confident and was just like him which they continue disputing between themselves. Later on, in the story, the older waiter attempted to connect with the bartender, and such tendencies emphasized the sense of loneliness which was the prevalent theme in the …show more content…
During this time, the waiter seems glad that he offers a better place in the café for the lonely, just like himself, as opposed to the bars which exhibit the cruel reality of the world to its revelers. At this point, he justifies his connection with the lonely and the desolate members of the society. In a more interesting end to the story, the old water is aware that he will have to lie in bed for a long time waiting for sleep. He again terms the condition just as insomnia which he is aware affects many, not just him. In the end, everyone is portrayed to exhibit a feeling of emptiness

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    He insults the deaf old man and is painfully indifferent to the older waiter's feelings when he states that "an old man is a nasty thing." The older waiter, however, realizes that the old man drinking brandy after brandy is not nasty; he is only lonely. Hemingway uses dichotomy to define theme, characters and setting in “Clean well- lighted place. A sad and depressing story of three different types of men. The one that has drink, the one that owns a café and the one that has a family.…

    • 1319 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He believes that the café is the place where the old man comes when he feels worthless, and the old waiter has same reason for drinking alone at the bar. Explain Old age creates a feeling of worthlessness. The old waiter is not rushed in his actions at the café, as he sympathizes with the old man, and this is expressed as drinking alone at a bar. As portrayed in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”, the old waiter and old man both experienced substantial feelings of worthlessness. Each expresses it in a different manner, however the premise for their actions is the same.…

    • 750 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The older waiter sympathises with the old man’s troubles and understands his need to stay in the café. He empathises telling his colleague that “I am one of those who like to stay late at a café.” The older waiter is unhurried and would not have mind staying late and allowing the old man to continue drinking. On the other hand, the younger waiter was unsympathetic, harsh, and hurried. After hearing that the old man had tried to kill himself, while pouring the old man’s last drink, the waiter said “you should have killed yourself last week.” Even though it was not yet closing time, the young waiter would not serve the old man the drink he ordered forcing the old man to pay and…

    • 1003 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    'More to me than to him.' 'An hour is the same,'" furthermore displaying the young waiter's ignorance and the old waiter's compassion (Hemingway). Once the waiters close the café, the old waiter moves to an unpolished bar, while thinking about nothingness on the way. He observed, "It was all a nothing and a man was a nothing too. It was only that and light was all it needed and certain cleanness and order.…

    • 1506 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This is why the older waiter takes the time to understand the old deaf man and show a little sympathy for him. The older waiter is also known as the “unhurried” water, he is able to see the importance behind the cafe for people like the old man. The older waiter is always “reluctant to close up because there may be someone who needs the cafe”, and as long as there is a need for the cafe there is a need for him. Thus giving purpose to his everyday…

    • 713 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He drinks without spilling. Even now, drunk. Look at him "(Hemingway 2). This exhibits that while the younger waiter give little respect to the old man by calling him as a “nasty thing”, the older waiter judge the old man, even though he was intoxicated, as a clean and respectable customer. Even though the old man was drunk and the two waiters was discussing about him, the older waiter still don’t judge the old man because he know that the old man was going through a depression.…

    • 1136 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The story is about an old man who drinks brandy at a clean cafe instead of drinking at a bar. Once the younger waiter and the older waiter closed the cafe up, the older waiter went to a bar to drink. On his way there he kept a conversation with himself. The older waiter says that “it is the light of course but it is necessary that the place be clean and pleasant” (Hemingway 159). This could be referring to a place such as a hospital or Heaven.…

    • 1014 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    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).…

    • 819 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The most prominent example of the light in Hemingway’s writing can be found in “A Clean Well-Lighted Place.” The suicidal old man “who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light,” makes the conscious choice in his seating which reveals much more about his character and yearning (ACWLP 1). The seemingly paradoxical choice of sitting in the shade at night could further the idea that he has the opportunity to come into the light in order to change his life to strive for something different, but he selects the shade instead, a representation of his abandonment of life itself. The deaf man brings himself to the bar and the light every night, but eventually he always leaves, walking off into the darkness, putting the light and hope behind him. The old waiter also attempts to cure the flaws in his life as well as provide salvation for those who need it through the lights of the bar, proclaiming that “the light is very good,” and that light is all one needs for a pleasant place (ACWLP 4). When he begins to contemplate the nothingness of man, he states that “It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too.…

    • 1125 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Instead, he hides from his knowledge, slowly drinking away the hours of his meaningless life. The second character in the story, the older waiter, is very similar to the lonely old man. He too realizes that life has no meaning, and actively speaks of this belief to himself, saying, “It was all a nothing and a man was a nothing too” (Hemingway 4). Like the old man, the older waiter is scared of the nada that defines life, staying late at the café and then lying awake all night pondering his fate (Hemingway 5). However, the older waiter has not quite reached true despair, for he still finds purpose in some of the aspects of his life.…

    • 1901 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays