A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Essay
In Hemingway’s story, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, the setting is the key part of the story in relating to the characters. Simply because we don’t have much else to go by. The setting takes place in the café. Although we don’t have names, the main characters are the two waiters and the old man. The waiters stay at the café throughout the story. The café is, as the title states, clean and well lit. It's a pleasant café, and the light creates the shadows of leaves at night. The story is set late at night, and the café is quiet; only the two waiters and a single customer, the old man, sit there. Other than that, we actually don't know anything about the place. Other than majority of the story taking place in the clean café, the older waiter stops for a small time at a bar that is quite the opposite of the café. The bar is dirty and not well lighted. It is not to the older waiter’s liking. He doesn’t linger there. He heads home soon after arriving to the bar. Other than this small stop at the bar, the rest of this story is at the café. The old man, although he doesn’t say anything other than “Another,” he plays a main role in this story because without him in the story, the waiters would have closed up the café and would have nothing else to discuss. He is a regular to the café and even though he gets too drunk to pay sometimes, he is generally a good customer. We learn that the old man once had a wife and possibly a family, but now is alone with his niece, who saved him from a suicide attempt. We wonder what the old man was like before he was an old man. He is lonely and drowns his sorrows in his drunkenness and self-pity. Although the old man is a drunk, he is not a sloppy drunk. He cleans up after himself and doesn’t spill his drinks. The younger waiter is bouncing around, full of energy and impatience, while the old man waits quietly to pass out of this life. The older waiter is somewhere between these two stages...
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