In Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," that is what one can hope for: a clean, well-lighted place like the little cafe.
The story presents a realistic--some might say bleak--picture of reality and existence. In this world, the story suggests, one finds meaning in small ways. Bits of kindness or courtesy, peace, contentment, and comfortable surroundings are what one can hope for. The place where the old man drinks his brandy is all he has.
The world, as the speaker sees it, is bleak. The old man "Last week...tried to commit suicide." Why, or what about? "Nothing." Yet, though he is cut off and told he is "finished" by the inconsiderate of the two waiters, he...
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