Quiet Place to Drink

Quiet Place to Drink

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"A Clean Well-Lighted Place" shows use the contrast between young and old. The difference between a nice, bright café and the not so clean bar for a man to spend his long nights. In the short story by Ernest Hemingway, an old man is trying to have a drink at a café. One of the waiters is young and it anchus to go home to his wife, while the other waiter, an older man, understands the gentleman who is drinking. The old man in the café comes in often for drink. He tries to pass the night in the clean well-lighted place, where he "liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference" (Hemingway 173). The young waiter does not realize the importance of the café to the old man.

The young waiter states that the old man has tried to commit suicide before. He cannot seem to figure why because "he had plenty of money" (Hemingway 173). For the young man does not see any other reason for someone to kill himself or herself for any other reason besides money. This old man has not been cared for. The only reason that the old man was not successful in the suicide was because his niece saved him in "fear for his soul." Not for love or because she valued him.

The young waiter thinks that the old man "has no regard for those that work" (Hemingway 174), knowing that he a lot of money. The old man is lonely unlike the young waiter who wanted to go home to his wife. The young waiter pours the drink carelessly with no regard for the old man not realizing the value of the café to the old man. The old man has nowhere to go after dark.

The older waiter can relate to this man, for he has nowhere to go after work. The waiter himself cannot find a clean well-lighted café of his own to pass the night. The old waiter is offended by how the young waiter has treated the old man. "Why didn't you let him stay and drink?"( Hemingway 174) the old waiter says. The old waiter tells the young waiter the he has `youth, confidence and a job, you have everything"(Hemingway 175).

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The young waiter does not realize that all that can be taken away as you get older. The young man by no means is trying to be a mean person, he just does not understand the value of a nice place to sit and drink.

It is hard for some to relate to others in the world. In "A Clean Well-Lighted Place", the reader sees the different perspectives between the old and young. As a person get older things in their life change and the things that where important when you where young don't mean so much as you age. The young waiter could not understand the man drinking, while the older waiter understood him perfectly. The old waiter knew what it was like to have nothing.
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