A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

610 Words3 Pages
A Quiet, Cup Full of Sorrows and Loneliness “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” by Ernest Hemingway is a story of a forlorn elderly man who drinks his life away. One night while he was having a few drinks at a quiet café, two waiters started trying to make sense of his life. The old man was a regular, and by this time the waiters had managed to learn some things about him. As the story starts to evolve, the author uses a good sense of dialogue between the two waiters to really look into their personalities. By doing so, Hemingway builds the characters, and uses irony to establish the story. The main character is the old man, who is illustrated by the waiters as “ a little drunk, and while he was a good client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying” (Hemingway 143). Hemingway acknowledges the old man from the conversation of the two waiters; the deaf old man once had a wife and possibly a family, but now is alone and in the care of his niece, who saved him from a suicide attempt. The older of the two waiters seems to know quite a lot, for he understands the old man. He too appreciates the quality of good light but it is also necessary that the place be clean and pleasant. Certainly, you do not want music (146). The younger waiter is just a typical young man, he is impatient and only cares about getting home to his wife as early as possible. Having to stay late and serve the old man drinks irritates the young waiter, and he doesn’t care that it shows. He doesn’t understand like the older waiter nor seem to care why the old man likes to stay so long. Hemingway demonstrates the element of irony by showing the lonely lifestyle the old man leads, and by interpreting that the older waiter’s life will soon lead up to that. This is clear in the older waiter’s statement “I am of those who like to stay late at the café. With all those who do not
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