"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" embodies all aspects of Hemingway's melancholic writing style. Several things that make up the story including the characters, the setting, and Hemingway's own beliefs help to define the importance of Ernest Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place", in today's literature. Hemingway's melancholy in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" is often likened to that of darkness in well-lit world.
Ernest Hemingway's main characters in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" include the deaf, old man and the two restaurant waiters. When carefully reading the story, the reader is aware of the old man's natural disablility of deafness. In comparison to Hemingway's story's inate darkness, writer, Elizabeth Sterling finds that "Even his ears bring him a sort of darkness as they hold out the sounds of the world." (Wall) The old man's solitude is defined by nature and the only thing that can fully cure is illness is the permanent death although the old man tries incesently to do drown himself in whiskey. The two young waiters watch as the old man apparently runs his course night after night. All three share the disease of insomnia, another depiction of darkness in Hemingway's writing. One waiter bears the idea of a normal lifestyle while the other sympathizes with the old man's depressive nightlife.
Another place, we can see Hemingway's melancholic state is in his choice of setting. He writes of a small bar in what appears to be Spain by the currency but could just as easily have taken place elsewhere on a lone summer night. His setting gives us the impression that there are other such towns and communities where old men linger until they find a faster way to death. (Willms) The well-lit bodega represents a temporary and incomplete peace in the world. It is a place in which the old man can only reside for a few hours until his daily death, sleep. And thus the cycle continues as the old man suffers from an "unending emptiness without comfort or companionship of man or God.