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Clean Lighted Place Novel Answer

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ryona
Words 408
Pages 2
"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" is one of my favorite short stories by Hemingway. A story about three men at different states of their lives; two waiters of a cafe (one young, one older) and an old man as a customer. The old man is living in a state of despair and loneliness, having recently attempted suicide. The younger waiter is insensitive to this and just wants the old man to leave. He himself has "everything": youth, confidence, a job and a wife. He does not realize that not everybody has that because he is blinded by everything that he has. He does not realize that other people are searching for meaning, searching for a reason to go on living to the next day. Meanwhile, the older waiter sympathizes with the old man. He understands his loneliness; he knows how it feels to have nothing to go home to.

In my opinion it is the older waiter that is the most tragic character in this story. We learn that he too suffers from loneliness and despair and he sees the old man in himself and he realizes that he, too, will become just like the old man. It is because of this that he wants to keep the cafe open because he knows that it is a clean, well-lighted place. It is clean and bright and can be a source of comfort to those like the old man and himself. It is not until they leave the building that we find the older waiter at a complete loss. He finds no comfort in religion anymore and even though he tries to go to another building, it is just not the same as the cafe holding light and a glimpse of hope. When he goes home he decides that it is just insomnia he is suffering from, and that "many must have it'. This proves even more tragic; even though people suffer from the same thing, they all go through it alone.

Hemingway shows the transition of youth to elderly in correlation with happiness to loneliness, hopelessness and despair by using the younger waiter, older...

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