Homework Help

Explain the following quote from "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" mentioning who, to whom,...

user profile pic

khalershor | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted July 11, 2011 at 10:42 PM via web

dislike 1 like

Explain the following quote from "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" mentioning who, to whom, about whom, when, where, why, what is referred to, and the significance.  

"I wish he would go home. I never get to bed before three o'clock. What kind of hour is that to go to bed?"

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 26, 2012 at 11:28 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

This is a fairly straightforward quotation. The younger waiter says it to the other, older waiter, while they are talking about the old man. Actually the younger waiter is talking about the old man and complaining about him. When he says it is after he has been serving the old man brandy until the early hours of morning and until the old man is rather drunk. 

"He's drunk now," he said. (young waiter)

"He's drunk every night." (other, older waiter)

The young waiter is on duty at the cafe with the other, older waiter. Where they sit is together at a table keeping watch on the old man because when he gets "too drunk" he goes away without paying his bill. The waiters sit at a table they share inside the cafe while the old man sits on the outdoor terrace in the shadows cast by tree leaves in the "electric light," the same light that illuminates the military insignia on a soldier's uniform as he hurries past the old man and terrace with a girl who "hurried beside him."

The two waiters notice the romance between the soldier and the girl, which refers the young waiter's thoughts to the late hour and the wife he has at home waiting for him in a warm bed. This is the reason why he makes the remark in the quote: He is tired; he sees a young couple in love; he is talking about the old man's attempt on his own life; he never gets home to his wife before three o'clock. The significance is that he wants to go home at a more decent hour and see his wife and feel young and alive. He wants to wash away the thoughts of being old and alone and cold and dying.

"I wish he would go home. I never get to bed before three o'clock.What kind of hour is that to go to bed?"

"He stays up because he likes it."

"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."

"His niece looks after him. You said she cut him down."

"I know." "I wouldn't want to be that old. An old man is a nasty thing."

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes