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Analysis for A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway - Essay Example

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The sparely-worded story is based on a conversation between two waiters – one young and one older - in a café as they watch a deaf old customer drinking late…
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Analysis Essay for A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway
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"Analysis for A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway"

Download file to see previous pages The young waiter represents a person at youth. He is the embodiment of the young person who has the promise of his entire life before him. He demonstrates the impatience of youth with the slowness and infirmities of age. His attitude is seen in his emphatic declaration, “I have confidence. I am all confidence” (Hemingway, ). He cannot conceive of any shortcoming or sorrow in life except the lack of money. He has no sympathy with the deaf old man’s despair, and ruthlessly tells him, “You should have killed yourself last week” (Hemingway, ). In the flush of youth and vigor, he is repulsed by the ravages of age: “An old man is a nasty thing” he says (Hemingway, ). His character is the depiction of youth in all its materialism and callowness.
The senior waiter represents the maturity of middle age. As he progresses in age, he is acutely conscious that he is on the way to becoming an old man, like the deaf customer. He exhibits a deep empathy for the old man and says, “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 light for the night” (Hemingway, ). He shares the loneliness of the old man and sympathizes with his despair. He refutes the young waiter’s criticism by asserting that the old man is clean. At the same time, he understands the impatience of the young waiter to get home to his wife.
The old customer is poised on the threshold of death. Loneliness, despair, and conflict of the soul torment him. He craves the small comfort of a well-lighted and clean café for a temporary period of security. He represents old age and the coming encounter with death. He is the personification of the transience of human life: “It was all nothing and a man was nothing too” (Hemingway, ), the senior waiter says. The old man is a symbol of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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