Hemingway's story "A Clean Well-Lighted Place."

Essay by ckgrl552College, Undergraduate April 2003

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Three Generations of A Man

What is so different about an old man and young man? The difference between the two is their outlook on life. Ernest Hemingway tells a story about this in "A Clean Well-Lighted Place." In this story, there are three men, two of whom look at the world in the same light. There are differences and similarities of these three men, and just age can alter one's perspective on life.

Oldsey states that "the younger waiter, impatient and confident, does not understand the old man who has come to the café to drink away his loneliness and fear"(32). The young man sees the world as it should be seen by what he thinks is right. In my view, he could be considered a cynic. He is just so unbelievably negative in everything he says and selfish in everything he does. In a lot of what he says, he is always in one way or another talking about himself.

Take for instance when the young man says "He'll stay all night" he said to his colleague "I'm sleepy now. I never get into bed before three o'clock. He should have killed himself last week" (159). What does that say about a man's character, when he wishes another man dead? He's so selfish that he even says "I don't want to look at him. I wish he would go home. He has no regard for those who must work"(160) If he doesn't like his work why does he stay? His line of work is to serve people and yet all he ever does is complain about it because he is so self-absorbed and only into what is happening in his life.

The young man is a disgusting slob and we see that in a couple different...