“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” centers on the memories of a dying writer named Harry. On safari in Africa, he has been wounded and has developed an infection. Waiting around to die, he thinks about the past years of his life. He regrets that he did not accomplish more as a writer and realizes that he let himself get lazy. Part of Harry’s reason for going on safari had been to discipline himself. Though he and his wife have been to many great places and have had wonderful experiences, Harry has been swept up in the empty world of the wealthy, forgetting that it was his experiences with poor and interesting people that first awakened his desire to write. Harry fights with his wife, recognizing that she drove him to a life of decadence. He dies, and his soul flies to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the House of God.
In “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” two waiters (one old and one young) are at a café late at night, waiting on an old man who has recently attempted suicide. The young waiter wants to close up and get on with his night. He does not understand why the old man will not leave. The old waiter is kind to the old man and understands why he is there. He understands that the old man wants to avoid the darkness, that he needs the safety and security of a well-lit café.
“A Day’s Wait” focuses on Schatz, a nine-year-old boy who has a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Confusing the Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales, the boy believes that he is going to die. He lives with the “knowledge” of his impending death all day, until his father tells him that he is merely sick and will survive.
“The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio”...
(The entire section is 688 words.)