The Features That Make The Novel The Old Man And The Sea Classic

May 18, 2022 by Essay Writer

The novel is considered a classic through the use of themes, one of which is pride. The story takes an ambivalent attitude to pride. Santiago knows that he is a good fisherman. For example, when Manolin tells Santiago, ‘The best fisherman is you,” at the start of the story, he disagrees. Instead Santiago takes pride of being exactly what he is a fisherman and a man. Through the use of interior monologue Hemingway wants us to feel what Santiago is feeling, that he believes he is a great fisherman. With Santiago’s pride, he travelled very far out in the sea “beyond all people in the world” so he could catch the marlin. Santiago loved the marlin and called it his brother, he admitted to killing it for pride. This is symbolic because Another theme Hemingway has used is friendship. This is shown through Santiago and his young friend Manolin. Throughout the story the old man feels isolated, although he does have friends on the sea as he says the flying fish are “his principal friends on the ocean”, and the marlin becomes his ‘brother’, this is symbolic because the Marlin represents nature and this shows that the old man is close to nature as he calls the Marlin his brother. The old man refers in the book that “I wish I had the boy” the old man is referring to his friend Manolin and how he feels isolated without him. Themes were shown throughout the whole novel which shows that it is a classic.

The novel is considered a classic through Hemingway’s style. Hemingway uses allegory which tells the story through symbolic representation. His style is very different as he is writing is very descriptive and he makes the story short using allegory to write his action-packed story in such little words. There is a strong hint of Christian allegory in the novel. Hemingway compares Santiago to Jesus because he strengthens the image of him as a sacrificial hero. Towards the end of the book there is a reference to crucifixion when the old man felt the nail go through his hand and into the wood just as Hemingway is referencing when Jesus got nailed to the cross; “Ay”, the old man said aloud which is just a noise such as a man might make without control as nails where going through his hands into the wood. ‘had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert’. Hemingway uses metaphors to describe Santiago’s scars, how they were old as erosions in a fishless desert. Hemingway uses figurative language to help create vivid images and describe details. One type of figurative language is personification, an example of personification is when Santiago sees the oceans. “He always thought of the sea as ‘la mar’ which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her, but they are always said as though she were a woman”. Since the ocean doesn’t have a gender nor alive and this is an example or personification because it helps the reader understand Santiago’s relationship with the sea and how he sees it. Hemingway uses simple and direct language in his writing, he is famous for his ability to pack meaning into a few simple words. For example, “It jumped again and again in the acrobatics of its fear”. Hemingway’s style is very distinctive, his sentences are very brief and has a lot of detail which shows that the novel is a classic.

The novel is considered a classic through the context of the novel. Hemingway lived in Cuba for around 20 years which the novel was set on a Cuban fisherman, for nearly a decade before the Old Man and the Sea was published Hemingway said that he had nothing offered the literary world. The old man in the novel struggles for days when his fish was getting destroyed by sharks Hemingway symbolises the shovel-heads in the novel which suggests Hemingway’s career was over. This suggests one of the major themes in the novel “A man can be destroyed but not defeated”.


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