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The author shows us the desperate emptiness of the old mans life near finished without the success of its labor. The aggravation of the old mans restless mind that cannot find peace, which is unlimited burden. Throughout the story images of desperation show the old mans existence at a position when he has realized the pointlessness of life and finds himself the lonely object of contempt. Instantly after one has read this story one can see the religious relations from the beginning of the story. The most obvious image used by Hemingway in this story is that of the contrast between light and dark. The tables were empty except where the old man sat in the shadow of the leaves of the tree that moved slightly in the wind.
Maybe the old man hides in the shadows of the leaves because he recognizes the limitations of his light or shelter. One can argue that he is trying to shade himself so his old age and illness would not be visible. Hemingway incorporates the darkness of the mans ears, and how he failed because of them. The cafe is a Clean, Well-Lighted Place a refuge from the darkness of the night outside. The main symbol of fear, desperation and loneliness would be darkness. The light symbolizes comfort and the company of others.
There is hopelessness in the dark, while the light calms all, and gives hope. The regrettable happening for the old man is that this light is temporary and incomplete but is what he is actually waiting for in death. One may assume that the old man had tried killing himself to bring him permanently into the light. He would then be calm and his life would finally have meaning.
This would have graciously ended, what was to him, his unsuccessful life. Hemingway uses the fact that the old man is deaf to further show the audience of how the old man is shut out from the world. The old mans loneliness is empty. The emptiness of a life without progress of meaning is nothing, and this nothing holds on to the old man. The only escape from this nothing for this old man is the heavenly unending light and delightful joy of being in heaven with god. Hemingway further played out the old mans death through the metaphor of insomnia, a weakness that the old man shares with the older waiter.
Insomnia keeps the old man and the older waiter awake through the hours of darkness, just as an insistent life keeps the old man breathing when he would rather rest in peace. When the story begins, the older waiter informs the younger waiter that the old man had tried to commit suicide recently. The old man is haunted with desperation at his loneliness, the darkness of his life, his separation from the world, and the nothingness that penetrates his existence. The old man wants his death, but it is withheld from him. Even when the old man tries to take his own life, his niece saves the old operates life.
Peace is far from the old man, and what little relief he may find is incomplete like the artificial light of the cafe. The old mans last attempt to bring him to rest is to drown himself in whiskey, but that also fails, as he is asked to leave the cafe. The only thing that was left was hope that, as drunk as he is, he may pass out when he arrives home. This would be his final plea for rest. Hemingway's is known for his Hemingway hero, that was his style of writing which he invented. He got the ideas from other great authors like Mark Twain and Stephen Crane.
An example of such a character is Frederick Henry in a Farewell to Arms. Literary critics believed hat the Hemingway hero and Hemingway himself are incapable of thinking, interested in nothing but drinking, whores, and blood. They believed the hero was stupid. They though the Hero and Hemingway were partly mentally ill.
Hemingway disproved this judgment by his intellectual writing, in which he proved that the critics were stupid, not Hemingway. (Reynolds 2)
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Research essay sample on Hemingway Hero Older Waiter