Hemingway reproduces the despair and disillusionment of the lost generation after the war in his works, but in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” he tries to overcome it without being buried in nihilism. In this short story, the older waiter sympathizes with the loneliness the old man felt after losing his wife, the despair of trying to hang himself, and why he remained in the cafe late at night to overcome darkness and emptiness. The older waiter equates the old man’s plight with that of himself, and finds the importance of the dignity in the old man's appearance. The older waiter reflects on the emptiness of his own life and is now one of those who like to stay late in the cafe. He wants to keep his cafe open late for those who don't want to sleep and need lights. He lights up to fight against the darkness, fills the emptiness of the world, and stays up late at night to fight the futility. Although he is not portrayed as a hero, he knows that light, cleanness, order is necessary for humans to overcome their emptiness, and the elderly's patience and dignified attitude represent Hemingway's worldview that is a value that humans can survive in a naturalistic world.
Ⅱ. 허무주의의 극복