In "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," Hemingway uses a matter-of-fact, third-person style that slips into indirect discourse as the narrative focuses in on the older waiter. Throughout the story, the narrator relies on matter-of-fact ideas, primarily through the dialogue of the two waiters.
Throughout the story, the two waiters' attitudes are made clear through their speech. The younger waiters make his distaste for the older man sitting in the cafe clear by wishing him death, saying things like, "You should have killed yourself last week" to the older man.
Meanwhile, the older waiter shows much compassion toward the older man. He exhibits empathy through his speech by discussing the old man's virtues, including a reluctance to "close up because there may be some one who needs the cafe."
As the story progresses, Hemingway slips into the mind of the older waiter via free indirect discourse as this man exhibits nihilistic tendencies, including the belief in nothing as made evident by his "Lord's Prayer," which replaces much of the key words with the word "nada."
Throughout this story, the narrator's matter-of-fact tone and language usage draws the reader in, which allows for a greater connection with the story's nihilistic themes.