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This is a story about an old deaf man who loves drinking and visits a café in town at night. There are two waiters who engage in some dialogue that enables the reader to understand more about the old man. The two waiters are also of different kinds since one does not like staying up late at night while the other stays late at night as he has difficulties getting sleep at night. The waiters get into an argument as the old waiter is willing to let the old man continue drinking but the younger waiter is in a hurry to go home to his wife and into bed.
The Characters and Character Traits
The old deaf man is the main character in the story as the story revolves around him. The two waiters engage in a dialogue about the old man and from their discussion, the reader learns a lot about the old man and also about the others. The old man is a drunken. This can be depicted from the fact that the waiters describe him as a good client and they knew that if he became too drunk, he would go without paying. From the waiters’ dialogue, they said that the old man is drunk every night. He is suicidal; he attempted killing himself using a rope though his son rescued him. He is also desperate as the waiters said that he had no good reason for attempting suicide but he had despaired in life (Shawna). From the story, the old man is stubborn or adamant. When the waiter told him that if he took another brandy he would get drunk, he didn’t leave but instead, he waited for the waiter to bring the brandy. He is also forlorn as he always went to the café alone and sat alone in his table. We can also say that he is unhappy with his life hence the reason he wanted to commit suicide (Shawna).
The old waiter is also a forlorn; he does not like going home early as he has nobody to go to. He also likes to stay late at night at the café and he also walks home alone. He is empathetic; when the younger waiter was unwilling to sell another brandy to the old man, he asked him to let him get what he wanted. When the younger waiter suggested that the old man would be better with a wife, the old waiter tells him that a wife may not do him any good. The old waiter feels that the young/hurried waiter should have left the man stay for an extra hour and drink some more. This shows that he really felt that some more drink would help the old man. He has some inferiority complex. He feels that the hurried waiter was better than him since he claimed that he had everything. The old waited said he had nothing but work whilst the hurried waiter was young and had confidence in addition to work.
The young or the hurried waiter is rude, when he was asked why the old man wanted to kill himself, he asked rudely “how would I know?”; he said an old man is a nasty thing. He is sarcastic, he asked his colleague whether he didn’t mind going home before the usual hour since he knew had difficulties finding sleep.
Narrator uses the person omniscient style as he lets the reader into the thoughts and feelings of the character. It is clear that the old waiter is concerned about the old man and others who want to stay in the café and pubs late at night. The hurried waiter feels that the old man should have killed himself; he also doesn’t like old people and also feels that a wife would be a good remedy to the old man. The narrator uses dialogue; from the conversation of the waiters, we learn that the old man is a drunken, he wanted to commit suicide and that he has a niece who takes care of him. There is also use of biblical illusion, this can be illustrated where the old waiter says the lords’ prayer in a twisted way; “Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada………..” use of monologue; the old waiter continues to talk to himself after he says goodnight to the hurried waiter. (Shawna)
The old waiter is willing to let the old man stay and drink but the hurried waiter is against it. The old waiter does not mind staying late at night and actually that what he likes. On the contrary the hurried waiter wants to go to bed and to his wife. Both the old man and the old waiter are lonely and they want to stay up at night. This conflict is resolved when the old waiter allows to stay longer and drink some more and this is also the climax of the story.
The setting is in a town or in the urban setting. There is a cafe which is clean. There are streets with street lights where the guard and the girl passed. There is a steam coffee machine at the pub where the old waiter went to have a drink after he left work.
The theme of the story is that there lonely people who have despaired in life and they just want to stay up late at night as they have problems getting sleep.