A Clean Well Lighted Place- Ernest Hemmingway Summary

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“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” Theme Analysis
"I wouldn't want to be that old. An old man is a nasty thing."

"Not always. This old man is clean.
He drinks without spilling. Even now, drunk. Look at him."
-Ernest Hemmingway

The story written by Ernest Hemmingway tells of a deaf old man who is in conversation with others at a café in the late night hours. The others in the story’s setting share a significant difference of age and opinion. It seems they depict their ages as stages of life. The story contains a lot of noteworthy symbols, behaviors and decisions that give us hints as to what the story is supposed to represent. Characters within the story are divided into four age groups, each having different characteristics and behaviors, however all waiting for their time to in which they face the inevitable and depart from the physical realm of living and into what follows.

The old man is described as a deaf and depressed man who tried to take his life away a week prior the story’s setting. It is said in the story the man is financially stable and is a frequent guest in the café that is well lighted and clean, unlike bars or bodegas . The story also is able to show the old man’s loneliness, sadness, and distress. Also, the waiters are sharing significant differences between them; the young waiter is in a hurry to leave work and go home to his wife, he is unsympathetic for the old man, he shows a disliking to him, and displays disgust towards the idea of getting old and the old man himself. It seems as if the young bartender has no appreciation for the old man life and holds no regard to it. Unlike the older bartender who tries to understand the old man’s condition and is curious of his suicide attempt. The older waiter himself is not in the hurry, after leaving work he goes to the bar to get a drink and then finally falls asleep upon the dawn. The last characters, however not as significant but symbolic, are a young soldier and a young girl who are just...
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