Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”

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Updated: Jun 05, 2021
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“In Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea there is an old fisherman in Cuba, Santiago, who has gone eighty-four days without a catch. In this novella Hemingway faces Santiago with many difficulties, not only being alone on the sea for 84 days and catching no fish but also facing mocking by his peers and a shark attack. Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea will endure the test of time because of its simplistic writing style, strong theme of alienation, and its connections of man versus nature.

Hemingway uses local and simple words to speak to the Cuban fisherman of the time. This clearly reveals the narratives skill of Hemingway. The lower diction makes it as realistic as possible while still following his theme and storyline. Hemingway used word that locals would use such as la mar etc… Although most of the language used was spare, and simple styles, there are also examples of exaggerations or hyperboles throughout the novella. For example, Hemingway frequently refers to characters as “the best” and “the greatest” regardless of empirical evidence or proof. Hemingway uses these exaggerations as a tool to inspire the young Manolin and gives the young boy unattainable greatness to look up to.

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This novella also has a strong theme of isolation. the protagonist also known as Santiago, is an old arthritic and tired fisherman who is unable to catch fish. Not only is he lonely but he is also mocked and laughed at by other fishermen. Hemingway alienates Santiago by creating a rivalry between him and the other fishermen he does this by showing up there fishmen literally sailing away from Santiago’s old boat while they are in their fancy motor boats. even a young boy, Manolin is forbidden from fishing with Santiago because of his misfortune. Santiago also mentally isolates himself as he lives in the thought of his grandiose past. Hemingway also talks of Santiago’s relationship with nature as so intense it isolates him.

Hemingway also focuses on the connections between Santiago and his natural environment. From not being able to catch fish to fighting off an actual shark Santiago is faced with many battles in nature. Hemingway does this to show how even if someone is passionate for a thing, such as fishing, it may not always have the outcome you desire. This theme is put in place to give the reader something they can relate to on a more personal level. Hemingway also does a great job of implying this theme in a very straightforward and well communicated way by frankly having a battle between Santiago and the thing he loves most, the sea.”

Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” essay

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Ernest Hemingway’s "The Old Man and the Sea". (2021, Jun 05). Retrieved from