says he understands the old mans reluctance to leave, and that he is always hesitant to lock up because someone may need the cafe because it is clean, well lighted, and overshadowed by the leaves of trees. The two waiters close up the caf and the middle-aged one again rebukes the other, saying he should have let the old man stay. Hemingway, it has often been observed, was obsessed with death, and that obsession can be seen clearly in this story. One of the waiters is younger than his colleague is, and expresses impatience to close up the caf and get home to his wife. Analysis, a Clean, Well Lighted Place is Hemingways paean to a type of existential nihilism, an exploration of the meaning, or lack thereof, of existence. The old waiter goes home as late as possible and only falls asleep as the light comes. The symbol of an empty, meaningless life, emotional darkness, surrounds the old man and the older waiter.
SparkNotes: A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: Themes nada in Hemingways A Clean, Well-Lighted Place? A Clean Well-Lighted Place: The Revelation of Nada A Clean, Well-Lighted Place Themes from LitCharts The creators Symbols and Symbolism in A Clean Well-Lighted Place
The place of cafes in Frances revolutionary history, A Final Farewell To Romeo and Juliet,
In fact, his philosophy as expressed by this story can be understood more clearly when considered in relation to death than in relation to life. In contrast with the younger waiter who has "youth, confidence, and a job" (as well as a wife the older waiter lacks "everything but work" (177). They both are victims of fear, inner loneliness, hopelessness, and "nada." They consider a "clean well-lighted cafe" a refuge from the deserted night. It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too. Existential depression is yet another technique Hemingway uses to convey the story's underlying theme. The caf is the symbol of meaning/light for the old man and the old waiter. He notes to the barman that the bar is unpolished, and then he wanders out. However, when readers look for deeper insight, they can find how meaningful this story. Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name, he says, echoing the Lords Prayer but glorifying nada.