What is the point of view in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"?

In "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" by Ernest Hemingway, the author begins the story in the third-person objective point of view and then switches to the third-person limited omniscient point of view. He does this so that he can first present the situation and mindsets of the three characters and then go deeper into the character of the older waiter at the end.

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The short story "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" by Ernest Hemingway is deceptively simple. It tells of two waiters in a café who are serving an old man, the only customer, late at night. The younger waiter is anxious to get home, while the older waiter is in no hurry and wants to give the old man time to enjoy the quiet, well-lit café.

Hemingway starts off this story in third-person objective point of view and then finishes it in third-person limited omniscient point of view. It is unusual for writers to employ two points of view in a story that is so short, but in this case Hemingway feels that it is crucial to go deep into the mindset of the older waiter at the conclusion of the story.

In third-person objective viewpoint, the writer describes what is happening but does not go into the thoughts of any of the characters. Hemingway does this at the beginning of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," so he can set up the situation and emotions of the various characters through the dialogue of the waiters and the actions of the younger waiter when the old man requests more brandy. The younger waiter, impatient and self-centered, is not a very sympathetic character, but it is easy to empathize with the lonely and unhappy old man who sits drinking alone late into the night. We also begin to understand that the older waiter is much more sympathetic to the old man's plight and in fact has some of the same problems with loneliness and insomnia.

This is confirmed as the older waiter closes up the café and goes off to a bar to have a drink on his own. Hemingway dives deep into the thoughts of the older waiter, and we can more easily perceive and understand his loneliness and depression, which is similar to that of the old customer at the café.

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