The short story “A Clean, well lighted Place” has been written by the author named Ernest Hemingway in the year of 1962. The story is basically a narration of different stages of life where the interest and thought process of people changes with time. Age is the biggest focus line of this story as people’s thought process changes with the growth in age.
The author had illustrated different stages of human life with the help of illustrating characters of old waiter, young waiter and an old man at the cafe. This paper evaluates the similarities and differences in the traits of all three characters.
The author had illustrated the younger age of human’s life to be full of excitement. The author has portrayed the character of the younger aged waiter as a young human who has his short terms goals. The author claims that the young waiter did not really felt considerate of the older persons around him.
To the young waiter, older people are filthy and clumsy who have nothing better to do in life (Hemingway). In the story, the author had described the traits of younger waiter’s personality as impulsive, inconsiderate of older people, focused to a conservative vision of sleeping with his wife and one who had no idea how death could come to his life in his later years of older age.
“I have a wife waiting in bed for me (Hemingway 28).”
The second stage of human life has been projected with the help of character of an old man who stays in the cafe till late night to drink. He does not spill a single drop of liquor on the counter and when he leaves the bar, he walks with dignity instead of unsteady walk. The older age of the man had been regarded to a stage where there are no hopes left but the fear of darkness at home (Hemingway). The darkness had been used as a symbol of death. Staying at the cafe for longer hours helped the older man to escape from the fear of darkness. The cafe was well-lighted that had been used as an escape from the darkness.
The light is very good and also, now, there are shadows of the leaves (Hemingway 62)
The third character which is quite similar to the character of old man is the waiter at the cafe who is also old. The young waiter asked him about the old man who stays for loner hours at the cafe late night.
“I wish he would go home. I never get to bed before three o’clock. What kind of hour is that to go to bed? (Hemingway 8)“
In reply to the question of the young waiter, the older waiter answers from his experience stating that older stage of life is full of fear of darkness (death). The older waiter states that the older man was in a progression towards old weary days that ends with death (Hemingway).
Through the above analysis of the traits of the three characters of the story A Clean, well lighted Place, it comes to our understanding that the old man was in a progression of an older age and had similar personality traits as the older waiter had. The younger waiter had been projected as a different human who is in his younger age and does not understand the fear of death and the need of light as an escapee in the older age.
Hemingway, E. A Clean Well-lighted Place. New York: Creative Education, 1990.