What Comes with Old Age?

Topics: Ernest Hemingway, Death, Meaning of life Pages: 3 (981 words) Published: March 23, 2013
What Comes with Age

What comes to mind when you think of life? Do you view life with an ever go lucky viewpoint and are you happy and content? Are you an optimist? Or do you think life is a means to and end with nothing to look forward to but depression and sorrow. In Earnest Hemingway’s story “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” Hemmingway makes the point that when you get older there is nothing but desperation and sorrow to live for. He does this by showcasing the story between a younger and an older waiter working late at night in a well-lit café where the only customer in the café is a very old deaf man getting drunk by himself. The story illustrates through characterization and verbal irony what it means to deal with the harsh reality that everything we are and everything we do is empty. Hemmingway presents two kinds of characters, those that are unaware of the emptiness of life and those that are familiar with it. He does this by focusing on three main characters throughout the short story; an old man, a younger waiter, and an older waiter where each has a subtly different outlook on life.

At the beginning of the story we meet the old man who is sitting at a bar drinking a brandy just watching the branches of a tree outside. The old man is lonely and drinks by himself. He drowns his sorrows in alcohol. The old man attempts to commit suicide because he is in despair. He tried to commit suicide by hanging himself with a rope but his niece who takes care of him cuts him down. He is in despair and feels unwanted because he is old. His old age shows physical imperfections on his body such as his hard of hearing. He has no one to go home to, and finds comfort drinking in lit places, then home by himself. He is very lonely because his wife died and he has no one to go home to and talk to about his problems or just to keep him company. The old man is also in a good financial position, but regardless of money, he has no will to keep on living. The old...
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