A Clean Well-Lighted Place


Different Eyes, Different Minds
"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" by Ernest Hemingway is a story which emphasizes on three age groups that each have a different view of life. By analyzing the three different points of view, we see Hemingway?s perspective of an old man. The short story is about an old man that sits in a very clean bar every so often who drinks away at two o?clock in the morning and is the last one to leave. There are three waiters: one is a young man, one is an older gentleman, and the last is a very old man. All the waiters see him in a different way based on their age.
The young waiter was in a rush to close the bar an hour earlier because there was only the lonely old man in it. It was two a.m. and the bar is supposed to close at three. This young man throws the old man out of the bar just so he can go into bed with his wife. The young man has absolutely no respect for the older man who is deaf. He yelled at the old man saying, "You should have killed yourself last week." The waiter treats him like an obstacle as if he is slowing down his life.
The second waiter introduced is a middle-aged man. He does not say much, but it seems as though that this is because he does not want to get in a fight with the younger waiter. All he does is ask the young waiter questions, as if the middle-aged waiter was sort of stuck in a catch twenty-two. The middle aged man felt for the old man but could not express his feelings to the younger waiter.
Lastly, there is the old waiter. He is some where around the age of the old man that sat at the table. He definitely feels for the man at the table because he knows what it is like to be old and lonely. The waiter says, "I am of those who like to stay late at the café, with all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night." The waiter knows that the café/bar is a very nice place for people at night, especially the old, because it is clean and well lit. He says, "Each night I am reluctant to close up because there may be someone who needs the café." This probably includes him, as he is old, and most likely that is the reason why he works there. For he cannot go to sleep until daylight has risen.
Hemingway shows us the different opinions people have based on their age and experience through the eyes of the three waiters. Most people assume things about others, especially of those they do not know. But we need to have an open mind and look through the eyes of a person, instead of just looking at them. Hemingway helps the reader see this fact and think twice instead of assuming.