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The Two Waiters At The Café Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 March 2017

The Two Waiters At The Café

Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” is about two waiters discussing an old customer late in the night.  The younger waiter is anxious to go home, while the older waiter is in no hurry whatsoever.  The latter would like to stay at the café to serve customers who might drop by unexpectedly, seeing that the café is a clean and well-lighted place while bars are not as clean and well-lighted.  The younger waiter, on the other hand, is in a hurry to get into bed with his wife.  The older waiter lives by himself and finds it difficult to sleep in the night.

     An obvious difference between the older waiter and the younger waiter is that the latter poses questions and expects the older waiter to possess answers for each of them.  The older waiter is asked about the old customer in detail.  Although he does not possess all answers to the younger waiter’s questions, he makes inferences to develop the conversation.  Moreover, the younger waiter mentions that he is full of confidence, which the older waiter says that he lacks.  The younger waiter does not mention lack in his life in any way, while the older waiter feels that he is deprived of everything other than work.

     Lastly, while the younger waiter is focused on ending his work for the night and returning home, the older waiter indulges in a great deal of thinking.  He speculates about the life of the old customer, and also tries to engage the younger waiter in deep thinking.  When the younger waiter mentions that he would like to return home, the older waiter asks him the meaning of an hour.  To this, the younger waiter replies that an hour is more precious to him than to the old customer.  The old waiter explains that an hour is the same to both individuals.

     Even as he goes home, the older waiter must decide to stop thinking.  He says to himself, nevertheless, that many people may be experiencing insomnia.  The younger waiter is not expected to think so much.  It can be inferred that the younger waiter’s life is based on actions rather than thoughts for the most part.

Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.”

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  • University/College: University of California

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  • Date: 19 March 2017

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