Ernest Hemingway 's The Old Man And The Sea Essay

Ernest Hemingway 's The Old Man And The Sea Essay

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Ernest Hemingway, an icon of American Literature, is known for his own distinct style. He didn’t often waste space in his writing, and when he did it was out of necessity. In relativity he kept things short and sweet, adding detail when necessary but rarely, if ever, dragging things out into over descriptive run-ons. Though he used this uniquely brief style of writing he never failed in developing the aspects of his writing he deemed important. Hemingway may not have flat out told readers about each factor he meant to describe, but in one way or another he got his point across in eloquent fashion. In The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway builds vivid characterization around Santiago not by telling the reader about the old man and his background, but instead by using indirect characterization: showing how he handles his own solitude, how he reacts to his surroundings, and through subtle biblical allusions that draw parallels between the old man and a Christ-like figure.
The first manner in which Hemingway shares Santiago’s persona with his readers is in the way the old man handles his solitude, how he deals with being alone at sea. All though the old man is all alone in his tiny skiff, he is never lonely at sea. He is content being on his own, because after a lifetime of fishing, he has grown accustomed to it. He may not always want to be alone, but he has accepted it. “No one should be alone in old age, he thought. But it is unavoidable” (Hemingway 48” Not once in the story does the old man complain about his solitude or hint that he is lonely. The only point in the story where the old man suggests that he wants someone with him is when he wishes for the boy, his student, to be at his side. “I wish I had the boy. To help and to see...


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...hout The Old Man and the Sea Hemingway refuses to just tell his readers who Santiago is, and he doesn’t go into detail about him in specific. Instead he reveals Santiago’s character and his traits to the reader by showing the old man’s reactions to his situation. It is in the way Santiago confronts his struggles and deals with them that the reader learns what kind of man he is. By reading how he handles his solitude the reader sees that the old man isn’t really lonely, but that he just isn’t surrounded by other men. Though his hardships seem unconquerable, the old man doesn’t complain and meets them with a Godly attitude. Through these different devices Hemingway manages to characterize Santiago in an indirect manner that allows readers to better connect and empathize with the old man than if they had just learned what kind of man he is in the beginning of the story.

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