Monday, April 15, 2019
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway Essay Example for Free
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway EssayAn superannuated gay sits unsocial at night in a caf. He is deaf and bids when the night grows still. Two hosts look at the doddery hu globeness mensurally because they know he wont pay if he gets likewise drunk. One make outr tells the otherwise that the honest-to- unplayfulness patch tried to kill himself because he was in despondency. The other server asks why he felt hopelessness, and the first waiter says the contend was nonhing because the piece has a lot of money. The waiters look at the empty tables and the elderly bit, who sits in the shadow of a tree. They see a couple walk by, a soldier with a girl. One of the waiters says the soldier had better be cargonful ab appear being out because the guards just went by. The old man taps his glass over against its saucer and asks the untested waiter for a brandy. The junior waiter tells him hell get drunk, then goes back and tells the erstwhile(a) waiter that the old man will stay all night. The junior waiter says he never goes to seam earlier than 3 a.m. and that the old man should have killed himself. He takes the old man his brandy. As he pours it, he tells the old man that he should have killed himself, save the old man just indicates that he needinesss more brandy in the glass.The jr. waiter tells the older waiter that the old man is drunk, then asks again why he tried to kill himself. The older waiter says he doesnt know. The younger waiter asks how he did it. The older waiter says he tried to hang himself and his niece found him and got him down. The younger waiter asks why she got him down, and the older waiter says they were concerned about his soul. The waiters specu lately on how much money the old man has and decide hes probably age eighty.The younger waiter says he wishes the old man would leave so that he can go dwelling house and go to bed with his wife. The older waiter says that the old man was married at one time. The younger waiter says a wife wouldnt do him some(prenominal) good, but the older waiter disagrees. The younger waiter points out that the old man has his niece, then says he doesnt want to be an old man. The older waiter points out that the old man is fairly and drinks neatly. The younger waiter says again that he wishes the old man would leave.The old man indicates that he wants another brandy, but the younger waiter tells him theyre closing. The old man pays and walks away. The older waiter asks the younger waiter why he didnt let him drink more because its not even 3 a.m. yet, and the younger waiter says he wants to go mansion. The older waiter says an hour doesnt make much difference. The younger waiter says that the old man can just drink at home, but the older waiter says its different. The younger waiter agrees.The older waiter jokingly asks if the younger waiter is afraid to go home early. The younger waiter says he has confidence. The older waiter points o ut that he in addition has youth and a job, whereas the older waiter has further a job. The older waiter says that he likes to stay at cafs rattling late with the others who are reluctant to go home and who need light during the nighttime. The younger waiter says he wants to go home, and the older waiter remarks that they are very different. The older waiter says he doesnt like to close the caf in case someone inevitably it. The younger waiter says there are bars to go to, but the older waiter says that the caf is clean and well lit. They wish each other good night.The older waiter continues thinking to himself about how beta it is for a caf to be clean and well lit. He thinks that music is never good to have at a caf and that standing at a bar isnt good either. He wonders what hes afraid of, deciding its not fear but just a familiar nothing. He says two prayers but substitutes cypher (Spanish for nothing) for most of the words. When he arrives at a bar, he orders a drink and tells the bartender that the bar isnt clean. The bartender withdrawers another drink, but the waiter leaves. He doesnt like bars, preferring cafs. He knows that he will now go home and fall asleep when the insolate comes up. He thinks he just has insomnia, a common problem.Character Analysis The Old Man A deaf man who likes to drink at the caf late into the night. The old man likes the shadows of the leaves on the well-lit caf terrace. Rumor has it that he tried to hang himself, he was once married, he has a lot of money, and his niece takes care of him. He frequently gets drunk at the caf and leaves without paying.The Older Waiter A compassionate man who understands why the old man may want to stay late at the caf. The older waiter enjoys staying late at cafs as well. He thinks its very important for a caf to be clean and well lit, and he sees the caf as a refuge from despair. Rather than admit that he is lonely, he tells himself that he has insomnia.Like the old man, the olde r waiter likes to stay late at cafs, and he understands on a deep take why they are both reluctant to go home at night. He tries to explain it to the younger waiter by saying, He stays up because he likes it, but the younger waiter dismisses this and says that the old man is lonely. Indeed, both the old man and the older waiter are lonely. The old man lives alone with besides a niece to look after him, and we never learn what happened to his wife. He drinks alone late into the night, acquire drunk in cafs. The older waiter, as well as, is lonely. He lives alone and makes a role of staying out late sooner than going home to bed.But there is more to the older waiters insomnia, as he calls it, than just loneliness. An unnamed, unspecified malaise seems to grip him. This malaise is not a fear or dread, as the older waiter clarifies to himself, but an overwhelming feeling of nihilityan existential angst about his place in the universe and an uncertainty about the meaning of spright liness. Whereas other people find meaning and comfort in religion, the older waiter dismisses religion as nadanothing. The older waiter finds solace only in clean, well-lit cafs. There, bread and butter seems to make sense.The older waiter recognizes himself in the old man and sees his own future. He stands up for the old man against the younger waiters criticisms, pointing out that the old man might public assistance from a wife and is clean and neat when he drinks. The older waiter has no real reason to take the old mans side. In fact, the old man sometimes leaves the caf without paying. But the achievable reason for his support becomes clear when the younger waiter tells the older waiter that he talks like an old man too. The older waiter is aware that he is not young or confident, and he knows that he may one day be just like the old manunwanted, alone, and in despair. Ultimately, the older waiter is reluctant to close the caf as much for the old mans stake as for his own be cause someday hell need someone to keep a caf open late for him.The Younger Waiter An impatient young man who cares only about getting home to his wife. The younger waiter is usually irritated with the old man because he must stay late and serve him drinks. He does not seem to care why the old man stays so long. His only concern is leaving as quickly as possible.Brash and insensitive, the younger waiter cant see beyond himself. He readily admits that he isnt lonely and is eager to return home where his wife is waiting for him. He doesnt seem to care that others cant say the equivalent and doesnt recognize that the caf is a refuge for those who are lonely. The younger waiter is immature and says rude things to the old man because he wants to close the caf early. He seems unaware that he wont be young forever or that he may need a place to find solace after in bearing too.Unlike the older waiter, who thinks deeplyperhaps too deeplyabout life and those who struggle to face it, the younger waiter demonstrates a dismissive attitude toward human life in general. For example, he says the old man should have just gone ahead and killed himself and says that he wouldnt want to be that old. He himself has reason to live, and his whole life is ahead of him. You have everything, the older waiter tells him. The younger waiter, immersed in happiness, doesnt really understand that he is lucky, and he therefore has little compassion or understanding for those who are lonely and still searching for meaning in their lives.Themes Life as wind instrument In A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, Hemingway suggests that life has no meaning and that man is an insignificant speck in a great sea of nothingness. The older waiter makes this idea as clear as he can when he says, It was all a nothing and man was a nothing too. When he substitutes the Spanish word nada (nothing) into the prayers he recites, he indicates that religion, to which many people turn to find meaning and purpose, is a lso just nothingness. Rather than pray with the actual words, Our Father who art in heaven, the older waiter says, Our nada who art in nadaeffectively wiping out both God and the idea of heaven in one breath. Not everyone is aware of the nothingness, however. For example, the younger waiter hurtles through his life hastily and happily, unaware of any reason why he should lament. For the old man, the older waiter, and the other people who need late-night cafs, however, the idea of nothingness is overwhelming and leads to despair.The Struggle to Deal with Despair The old man and older waiter in A Clean, Well-Lighted Place struggle to find a way to deal with their despair, but even their beaver method simply subdues the despair rather than cures it. The old man has tried to stave off despair in several unsuccessful ways. We learn that he has money, but money has not helped. We learn that he was once married, but he no longer has a wife. We also learn that he has unsuccessfully tried t o commit suicide in a desperate attempt to quell the despair for good. The only way the old man can deal with his despair now is to sit for hours in a clean, well-lit caf. Deaf, he can feel the quietness of the nighttime and the caf, and although he is essentially in his own individual(a) world, sitting by himself in the caf is not the uniform as being alone.The older waiter, in his irritating prayers filled with the word nada, shows that religion is not a viable method of dealing with despair, and his solution is the same as the old mans he waits out the nighttime in cafs. He is event about the type of caf he likes the caf must be well lit and clean. Bars and bodegas, although many are open all night, do not lessen despair because they are not clean, and patrons often must stand at the bar rather than sit at a table. The old man and the older waiter also glean solace from routine. The ritualistic caf-sitting and drinking help them deal with despair because it makes life predict able. Routine is something they can control and manage, unlike the vast nothingness that surrounds them.Motif Loneliness Loneliness pervades A Clean, Well-Lighted Place and suggests that even though there are many people struggling with despair, everyone must struggle alone. The deaf old man, with no wife and only a niece to care for him, is visibly lonely. The younger waiter, frustrated that the old man wont go home, defines himself and the old man in opposites Hes lonely. Im not lonely. Loneliness, for the younger waiter, is a key difference between them, but he gives no thought to why the old man might be lonely and doesnt consider the possibility that he may one day be lonely too. The older waiter, although he doesnt say explicitly that he is lonely, is so similar to the old man in his habit of sitting in cafs late at night that we can assume that he too suffers from loneliness. The older waiter goes home to his room and lies in bed alone telling himself that he merely suffers f rom sleeplessness. Even in this claim, however, he instinctively reaches out for company, adding, Many must have it. The thought that he is not alone in having insomnia or being lonely comforts him.Symbols The Caf The caf represents the opposite of nothingness its cleanliness and good lighting suggest order and clarity, whereas nothingness is chaotic, confusing, and dark. Because the caf is so different from the nothingness the older waiter describes, it serves as a natural refuge from the despair felt by those who are acutely aware of the nothingness. In a clean, brightly lit caf, despair can be controlled and even temporarily forgotten. When the older waiter describes the nothingness that is life, he says, It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order. The light it in the sentence is never defined, but we can speculate about the waiters meaning although life and man are nothing, light, cleanliness, and order can serve as substance. They can help st ave off the despair that comes from feeling completely unanchored to anyone or anything. As long as a clean, well-lighted caf exists, despair can be kept in check.
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