Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ernest Hemingway's A CLEAN WELL-LIGHTED PLACE Quote Response Exercise

"He's lonely.  I'm not lonely.  I have a wife waiting in bed for me."
"He had a wife once too."
"A wife would be no good to him now."
"You can't tell.  He might be better with a wife."  (Hemingway, p. 149)

This snippet from the conversation between the older and young waiter is interesting to me.  I find that the young waiter is quite arrogant and dismissive of the old man in the bar.  Is it the cliche of the young thinking they know everything and that anything or anyone old is of no value?  To me, it seems that the older waiter is trying to explain to the younger that just because the man is old does not mean that his life is over.  He is saying that he is alive and change for the better is possible for him.

"You have youth, confidence, and a job," the older waiter said.  "You have everything."  (Hemingway, p. 150)

This is a sad statement, in my opinion.  To think that having everything is dependent on being young, confident and employed is a depressing thought.  However, this is what society is told.  If you are older you are devalued.  There is no respect for the experience and confidence of age.  Youth is what is popular.  Youth is sexy.  It's wrinkle free.  It's a skewed perspective.

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth I enjoyed reading you response to "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." I too believe the young waiter in the story was very arrogant and self-centered. It is something that is all too common nowadays to see how disrespectful young people are today and how you can't seem to tell them anything because they know the world.