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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place


by Ernest Hemingway

Younger Waiter Timeline and Summary

  • The two waiters discuss the old man's attempted suicide.
  • The two waiters briefly note the appearance of the soldier and his girlfriend.
  • When the old man signals, the younger waiter goes to serve him another drink, commenting rudely that the old man should have actually killed himself.
  • The waiters resume their conversation, and reveal the details of the old man's suicide attempt.
  • The younger waiter expresses his disdain for the elderly.
  • The old man asks for another drink, but, this time, the younger waiter says no and sends him packing, claiming that they have to close up the café. He speaks condescendingly to the old man.
  • The younger waiter wonders why the old man can't just drink at home, but then admits that it is, in fact, different. We learn that he's not actually that bad of a guy, he's just in a rush to get home.
  • The older waiter makes fun of the younger waiter, asking if he's sure he wants to get home early. The younger waiter responds that he's "all confidence" (13) – he doesn't doubt anything about his life.
  • The younger waiter doesn't understand the older waiter's need for a bright, pleasant café, as opposed to a dark bar or bodega. He says goodnight and goes home to his wife.