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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Ernest Hemingway

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

The Old Man -  A deaf man who likes to drink at the café late into the night. The old man likes the shadows of the leaves on the well-lit café terrace. Rumor has it that he tried to hang himself, he was once married, he has a lot of money, and his niece takes care of him. He often gets drunk at the café and leaves without paying.
The Older Waiter -  A compassionate man who understands why the old man may want to stay late at the café. The older waiter enjoys staying late at cafés as well. He thinks it’s very important for a café to be clean and well lit, and he sees the café as a refuge from despair. Rather than admit that he is lonely, he tells himself that he has insomnia.

Read an in-depth analysis of The Older Waiter.

The Younger Waiter -  An impatient young man who cares only about getting home to his wife. The younger waiter is usually irritated with the old man because he must stay late and serve him drinks. He does not seem to care why the old man stays so long. His only concern is leaving as quickly as possible.

Read an in-depth analysis of The Younger Waiter.

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