Meaning and Meaninglessness Themes and Colors LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. The young waiter wants the old man to go to one of the all-night cafes, but the old waiter objects because he believes in the importance of cleanliness and light.
In fact, many believe that the major thematic concern of the story is the conflict between generations. They only have one customer left — an old man, deaf, drunk, and seemingly peaceful. Much of the critical commentary on the short story focuses on a series of unattributed lines of dialogue.
Sleep is hours away. He realizes that life, when it comes down to it, is simply meaningless — and that we all need a brightly lit, pleasant place to sit to avoid thinking about the dark demons of death and nothingness. What Hemingway is saying is this: When the old waiter asks why the old man tried to commit suicide, the young waiter tells him that the old man was consumed by despair.
After articulating life meaninglessness, the old waiter adopts the same attitude of the old drunk even inspiring derision from a bartender, just as the old drunk did.
Thus, suicide is inviting. Watching the old man from afar, the two waiters return to their conversation about the his attempted suicide. The couple moved to Florida, where Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Armswhich became a bestseller.
Hemingway rarely identified the speaker of each line of dialogue, and confusion ensued about which character was speaking each line. At first, commentators speculated that there was a mistake in the text: Here, the young waiter behaves badly: Soon the man demands another bottle of brandy, and the younger waiter belligerently concedes, telling the deaf man, "You should have killed yourself last week," as he pours him another glass.
John Hagopian rejected these theories, maintaining that the confusion stemmed from a typographical error and urged a revision of the story.
Note, though, that neither of the old men is a passive victim. He insults the deaf old man and is painfully indifferent to the older waiter's feelings when he states that "an old man is a nasty thing.
The old waiter knows what it is like to have to go home in the dark; he himself will not go home to sleep until daybreak — when he will not have to fall asleep in the nothingness of darkness. Analysis What happens in this story.
This is illustrated by the contrast between the two major characters: Thus, suicide is inviting. Moreover, the old waiter finds the old drunk to be admirable in his manner: InOtto Reinert challenged the prevailing theory that Hemingway employed metronomic dialogue and that each indented line implied a new speaker.
He cannot achieve even the dignity that the old man at the cafe possessed; he also knows that he will not sleep. The old man's essential loneliness is less intolerable in light, where there is dignity. The old man asks for another drink, and the younger waiter goes to serve him, disdainfully commenting that the old man should have killed himself this is no Mr.
Initially, however, the comments of both waiters concerning a passing soldier and a young girl seem very much alike; they both seem to be cynical. The old waiter is wiser, more tolerant, and more sensitive than the young waiter. The old waiter knows what it is like to have to go home in the dark; he himself will not go home to sleep until daybreak — when he will not have to fall asleep in the nothingness of darkness.
When the old man leaves, the waiters close the cafe. Clean, Well-Lighted Place, A - SparkNotes - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. Complete summary of Ernest Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.
eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. Find the quotes you need in Ernest Hemingway's A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, sortable by theme, character, or. From the creators of SparkNotes. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Essay In Hemingway’s story, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, the setting is the key part of the story in relating to the characters.
Simply because we don’t have much else to go by. The older waiter sympathizes with these people – he recognizes that sometimes someone might need to take refuge in a "clean, well-lighted place," rather than a dark, dim bar or bodega.
After the younger waiter hurries off home to his wife, the older waiter takes his time, continuing their argument in his mind. Additionally, all of the light remaining is artificial light — in this clean, "well-lighted" cafe. What is important in the story is not only the condition of nothingness in the world but the way that the old man and the old waiter feel and respond to this nothingness.A clean well lighted place from sparknotes com