A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

320 Words2 Pages
“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”, written by Ernest Hemingway, we are introduced to an analogy between light and darkness, youth and old. It touches on the subject about the arrogance and selfishness of being young, and the understanding and compassion of being older. We learn of how people look to a social environment to escape from loneliness. Hemmingway writes about an old man who likes to frequent a well-lighted cafe in order to drink himself to a stupor. He describes how the old man tried committing suicide the previous week only to be saved by his niece. It seems as though the old man’s escape from this lonely world is this well lit cafe, it is clean and it is safe. It’s sort of his anesthesia from his daily life, being that the old man is also deaf and had no one who would be waiting for him. A conversation ensues from this between an old waiter and young waiter who are keeping the cafe that evening. It seems as though the younger waiter doesn't understand why anyone would want to drink by themselves. He is tired and just wants to get home to his wife, who is in bed waiting for him. He doesn’t really care about what the old man is feeling, and exudes confidence, which could almost be mistaken as a form of arrogance. The older waiter in his compassion tries explaining the old man’s plight to no avail, for he can in someway relate. As the story finishes we realize, the older waiter is in need of the same thing, a well-lighted place in order to escape his own dark world. He stays at the cafe, he orders a drink, as the bartender states, “otro loco mas”, which in Spanish means “another crazy person”. In this case, the old waiter found this as his escape from
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