A CLean Well Lighted Place essay

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“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” Hemingway wrote this story in 1933. It details an evening’s interaction between two waiters, and their differing perspectives of life. Hemingway uses an old man as a patron to demonstrate the waiter’s philosophies. Hemingway is also visible in the story as the old man, someone who society says should be content, but has a significant empty feeling inside. What follows is a line-by-line analysis, putting emphasis on the philosophies of the waiters. This story focuses on two waiters at a cafe in Madrid, and their differing outlooks upon life. Their views are shown as they talk about an old man in the cafe, and each contemplate their life. The old man, who may be a reflection of Hemingway’s anticipated aging, enjoys drinking in the cafe late at night. This may be a reflection of Hemingway’s own writing in cafes in Paris. The old man prefers drinking late at night when the atmosphere is much more settled. The waiters kept a careful eye on the old man, as he has been known to leave without paying after too many drinks. As the two waiters monitor the old man, the younger waiter mentions that the old man tried to kill himself in the previous week. The older waiter asks why, and the younger tell.