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A Clean, Well Lighted Place

May 18th, 2010 No comments

“A Clean, Well Lighted Place” was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1933. The short story was based upon a conversation between two waiters in a café in Madrid, Spain at about 2:00 am in the morning. The focus of the conversation was an old man who was sitting in the cafe. Quiet and deaf, the old man drinks at the cafe on a nightly basis. Even though he was quite intoxicated, amazingly he was still quite distinguished. The old man is sitting at a table in the shadows of the tree, formed by the lights of the café. The waiters are keeping a close eye on the old man, because he has been known to leave without paying when he becomes drunk. Throughout the story we see that the waiters have nothing in common, other than they work at the same café. Hemingway uses the old man to demonstrate the waiter’s philosophies and their differences, and outlooks on life.

As the two waiters are watching the old man, the younger waiter is becoming impatient and aggravated due to the time. The younger man mentions that the old man tried to hang himself the week before. But failed in his attempt, because his niece cut him down. The older waiter questions the motives of the old man in his attempt. The younger waiter replies by saying the old man has plenty of money. Maybe the younger waiter believes that there is nothing worse than a shortage of money. And with money comes’ happiness, and that should be more than enough to compensate for loneliness. Read more…