A clean and well lighted place
He is deaf and likes when the night grows still. One waiter tells the other that the old man tried to kill himself because he was in despair. The waiters look at the empty tables and the old man, who sits in the a clean and well lighted place of a tree. They see a couple walk by, a soldier with a girl. Nearby, two waiters, one young, the placs older, talk about him. When the old man orders another brandy, the young waiter purposefully overfills his glass. The anecdote revolves around the difference between a clean, bright cafe and a dark, not-so-clean, bar as a place for cllean men to spend the cllean, sleepless nights.
Two waiters discuss a lingering patron in a cafe who overstays his welcome as the night wears on. The older waiter, who does understand, walks into the night himself, unable to find his own clean, well-lighted place in celan to pass a lonely and sleepless night. Critics often see these themes emerge a clean and well lighted place reflections of the cultural and spiritual malaise of the disillusioned, post- World War I Western world. And, because Hemingway is Hemingway, he manages (amazingly) to do it in under 1,500 words.
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