Literary Devices of Hemingway in the Old Man and the Sea

Length: 3 Pages 760 Words

Hemingway writes The Old Man and the Sea in a most interesting manner. His language is simple yet he creates an artfully designed plot. Within the story of an old man who goes out to sea to capture a large fish, Hemingway expresses the plot through the usage of narrative voice, symbolism, and personification. These literary devices are woven into the novella to complete a story which could not have been titled a classic unless these writing styles were used accordingly. Alone in his boat, the old man Santiago gently rowed out towards the immense ocean. The omniscient narrative draws close to Santiago’s thoughts. Hemingway enters his lines with increasing regularity. “Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for (50).” The blending of narratives is usually indicated customarily, with such as "he thought" or with "he said" and the quotation marks around what Santiago actually speaks aloud. At other times, the narrative drifts almost unnoticeably into Santiago's thoughts where the quotation marks around whatever Santiago speaks aloud to himself eventually Continue...


The usage and combination of different writing styles make this novella striking and an interesting book to read. Santiago never dreamed of people or tremendous occurrences, he "only dreamed of places now and the lions on the beach... who played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them as he loved the boy (25). He intends to live forever through his great achievements and qualities, and gave faith and unconditional love to a growing boy. The young cubs symbolize Santiago's remarkable traits of courage, strength, and dignity. He refers to the marlin as "he, even though he has no recollection of its gender. When the marlin lurched forward in the relentless battle, Santiago was cut in the eye and seared in the hand. The symbolism adds meaning to the simple story of a man's goal to catch an honorable fish to prove he is still an accomplished fisher. Just as the marlin was born to be a fish, Santiago reflects, he was born to be a fisherman. The aged fisherman slept of "Africa when he was a boy and the long golden beaches... (24). In his dreams, the lions are young and frolicking on the scenic beach, thus indicating a semblance with youthfulness and immortality. When Santiago comes home from a rugged day of fishing, he would expire on his rickety, newspaper-covered bed and dream of beautiful dreams. Hemingway keeps the character Santiago as the focus. Then he immediately assumes that something must have hurt the marlin, as he himself is hurt.