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Word Count: 625
Youth vs Old Age A Clean Well-lighted Place is another one of Ernest Hemingways dense vignettes filled with nuance but spare in style The anecdote revolves around the difference between a clean bright caf and a dark not-so-clean bar as a place for lonely men to spend the long sleepless nights Two waiters discuss a lingering patron in a caf who overstays his welcome as the night wears on The old man gets quietly drunk each night just last week he tried to kill himself but was rescued Tonight he tries to pass the night in a clean well-lighted place The young waiter impatient to get home to his wife does not comprehend the importance of this place to this old mans survival The older waiter who does understand walks into the night himself unable to find his own clean well-lighted place in which to pass a lonely and sleepless night This is a story about lonely old men who have no warm welcoming place to be when darkness falls The cities and villages must be full of such men who drink in search of sleep that will not come and crowd into dirty bodegas as a way to deny the quiet desperation which can lead them to an even more abrupt self-destruction The piece is beautifully crafted with the story within a story underscoring the ubiquity and commonality of the tales on lonely old men The two waiters that discuss the old man represent youth and old age The older waiter helps defend what the young waiter cannot see All that the young waiter sees is an old drunken man with no life and he doesnt even try to look at things in a different point of view The older waiter likes to stay late at the caf with all of those who do not want to go to bed With all those who need a light for the night
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