From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

  

by Ernest Hemingway

Older Waiter Timeline and Summary

  • The older waiter and the younger waiter discuss the old man's suicide attempt.
  • The waiters briefly note the appearance of the soldier and his girlfriend.
  • The older waiter asks why the younger waiter is so impatient to send the old man away and go home.
  • The two waiters close up the café for the night, debating the merits of a clean, well-lighted place.
  • Left alone, the older waiter continues this conversation alone. He thinks that this clean, bright, pleasant place is necessary to keep dark thoughts at bay – after all, in his view, life is simply nothing.
  • The older waiter stops at a bar that is bright and pleasant, but not clean enough.
  • After having a cup of coffee, the older waiter makes his way home.
  • The older waiter is resigned to a sleepless night alone; he dismisses his dissatisfaction and loneliness as insomnia, concluding that a lot of other people suffer like he does.

Advertisement