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Essay/Term paper: The old man and the sea: the old man

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Ernest Hemingway

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The Old Man and The Sea: The Old Man

Matt Shouse English 132 House

Authors use many tactics to reveal a character's personality. In the short
story, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, Hemingway exposes the attributes of his
characters through narration and dialogue. The older waiter's characteristics
are exhibited through the waiters' conversations and the observations the
narrator makes. The author cleverly associates the older waiter with the old
man. This connection gives the audience a clear understanding of the loneliness
and old age the waiter faces.
The older waiter in Hemingway's story identifies with the old man. This is
evident through the statements he makes to the younger waiter. In the begining
of the work the younger waiter is complaining about the old man staying at the
cafe. The older waiter takes up for the old man by explaining that the old man,
"stays up because he likes it" (Hemingway 160). This is the initial time that
the older waiter indicates that he identifies with the old man's feelings. This
identification becomes more apparent farther in the work. For instance, the
older waiter categorizes himself as being one, "of those who likes to stay late
at the cafe"(Hemingway 161). With this declaration, the older waiter places
himself in the same group as the old man. Hemingway's comparison of the old man
and the waiter becomes unmistakable through the words of the older waiter.
Loneliness and old age are the common bonds that the older waiter shares
with the old man. This is manifested through the dialogue between the two
waiters. For example, when the younger waiter boasts about his youth and
confidence, the older waiter jealously replies, "I have never had confidence and
I am not young"(Hemingway 161). The older waiter goes on further to illustrate
that all he has is work. The older waiter later displays his loneliness through
his compassion for the old man and others like himself. For instance, when the
younger waiter remarks that he wishes to go home for the night, the older waiter
says, "I am reluctant to close up because there may be some one who needs the
cafe" (Hemingway 161). Through the author's comparison of the old man and the
older waiter, he reveals the waiter's loneliness and desire for youth.
The narration communicates the personality of the older waiter. For
example, the narrator depicts the old waiter as, "not dressed to go home"
(Hemingway 161). The author is implying that the older waiter will be in search
of a drinking area, much like the cafe, after the cafe closes. Similar to the
old man, the older waiter does not want to go home. Later in the story, the
older waiter is at a bar drinking. The narrator mentions that, "it is too late
at night for conversation" (Hemingway 162). This image reminds the reader of
the old man sitting silently alone at the cafe. Again the audience sees the old
man's loneliness illustrated in the older waiter.
The connection attaching the old man to the older waiter enabled the
reader to recognize the waiter's loneliness and broken spirit. The
conversations between the two waiters also discloses many of the older waiters'
temperaments. Hemingway reveals his character through speech and statements by
the narrator.


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