Essay on A clean well-lighted Place

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     Hemingway's short story, "A Clean Well-lighted Place", takes place at a cafe very late at night. Two waiters are watching their last, lingering customer, an old man, who is by now very drunk. The younger waiter's impatience and the older waiter's understanding toward the old man carry out the theme of the story: "It [life] was all a nothing and a man was a nothing too."(114) Man must consequently find something to distract himself from his horrible truth. For the old man and the older waiter, "a clean and well-lighted" cafe is such an escape.
     The pervading metaphor in this story is predictably, the "clean well-lighted place." The story's
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The old man once had "youth", "confidence", "a job" and a wife. However, by now, he has nothing but money, which is not able to comfort his loneliness; he has nothing but an old body, which people think that it is nasty. His niece looks after him. But all they care about is his money. The reason that they saved him from the suicide is the "fear for his should."(111) The older waiter sees the dark truth of life from the old man. Like the old man, he has stared into the Great Nada, "...It [life] was all a nothing and a man was a nothing too..." (114) Unable to bear the darkness of his world, the older waiter is "reluctant to close up because there may be some one who needs the cafe" (113), as he wishes also to remain in the light.
     In this short story, Hemingway expresses a completely nihilistic worldview: life is meaningless, and filled with darkness. He believes that people shout find a method of coping with life's hardships in a graceful, dignified manner. Like the elderly drinker, despite the obvious hardships in his life (since he attempts suicide), he doesn't lose his cool, but finding his own way of exhibiting grace under pressure, which is to drink in a “clean and

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