Hemingway's A Clean Well-Lighted Place

I chose to read and write about Hemingway's "A Clean Well-Lighted Place". Here is a summary of what happens. Two waiters in a Spanish café are waiting one night for their last customer, an old man, to leave. As they wait, they talk about the old man's recent suicide attempt. The younger waiter is impatient to leave and tells the dead old man he wishes the suicide attempt had been successful. The young waiter has a wife waiting in bed for him and is unsympathetic when the older waiter says that the old man once had a wife. The old man finally leaves when the younger waiter refuses to serve him anymore.

The older waiter argues that they should have allowed their customer to stay, that being in the café is not the same as drinking at home. He explains that he is also one of those "who likes to stay late at a café . . . . With all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night." He does not want to close, since there may be someone else who needs the café. When the young waiter says there are bodegas open all night, the other points out that the bright atmosphere of the cafés makes it different.

After the younger waiter goes home, the older one asks himself why he needs a clean, pleasant, quite, well-lighted place. The answer is that he requires some such semblance of order because of "a nothing that he knew too well." He begins a mocking prayer: "Our nada who art in nada as it is in nada." He then finds himself at a bodega which is a poor substitute for a clean, well-lighted café. He goes home to lie awake until daylight may finally bring him some sle...

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... self dignity that has been lost over the years. Although it seems that the young waiter helps to steal away more of his self dignity.

This story worked very well for me. I like how the author used three clearly distinct characters in the same environment and showed how time changes people. I'm not too good with picking out hidden meanings and morals from stories but I feel this story basically tries to show. This story shows how simply Hemingway writes and how effective it really is. I write nothing close to this style, but this story shows how you can describe situations and people through a lot a dialogue. You can really see the difference in characters. For such a short story, whoever reads it can still take away something that someone else may not.
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