Unlike Ernest Hemingway, J.R.R. Tolkien wasn't in a constant state of depression. However, their thoughts on death were very similar. Tolkien once said, "Many that live deserve death. And some that
die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends." This quote made me instantly think of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" not just because of the theme of death, but I was reminded of the old man in the story. Throughout the story, the old man was seeking light, to avoid the darkness that would eventually consume him. This darkness was an analogy for death, and once it reached the old man, he would die. The part that caught my attention was "some that die deserve life". Up until the point where the younger waiter kicked the old man out, he was completely fine, safe from the darkness that awaited him.
He wanted to live but knew there was nothing he could do to prevent death, only delay it. And that thought made me think of the line "For even the very wise cannot see all ends." It is said that with age comes wisdom. The old man knew what had to be done to survive; he was wise in that regard. However, he wasn't sure when the darkness came, he would be killed; that's the unseeing of all ends. Although the thoughts may not have been influenced by one another, the comparison of how both authors portray and recognize death, wisdom and aging can't be ignored.