As William Harmon states, the theme is "…the abstract concept that is made concrete through representation in person, action and image." In the short story "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" there are many elements such as: the attempt of suicide, the comforting café and the use of alcohol that show us the consistent theme of mankind's search for peace.
The idea of the old man trying to take his own life through suicide easily connects to the meaning of searching for peace. This old man is suffering from the loneliness and despair that comes with old age. Although this man appears to have no reason for suicide or despair in the eyes of the young waiter "He was in despair." "What about?" "Nothing".This man is still not content with his life and he was looking for somewhere that will lead to peace and an end to his feelings of despair. In society today we mostly view suicide as an attempt to escape from our problems. Therefore it is apparent that the old man made an attempt to leave all his troubles behind, in search for a new life, one that would hopefully fulfill his desired happiness. The niece of the old man was a barrier in his search for peace. The moment she cut him down regenerated his on going search for peace, leaving the old man to return to his only source of peace which is the café.
Throughout "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" the search for peace is uncovered in many different ways. A main representation of peace is the setting of the story; the café.This café is an escape for this eighty year old man, an escape of the truth of his empty life. The old man goes to the café at night in search of peace. "…the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference."(162). At night there was no longer the scurrying of people on the streets, there was no longer…