Ernest Hemingway is one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century. He is an artist of great versatility and vitality. He is credited with the creation of a new style of writing. This new style suited his purpose eminently. The Old Man and the Sea is considered to be his masterpiece. It is treated as classic of world literature.
Hemingway is an excellent story teller. It is one of the important features of his novels. It preserves the liking and attention of the readers. The story of The Old Man and the Sea is very interesting. Its plot is very simple but gripping. It deals with the story of an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago. He is unfortunate and alone. After a long gap he gets success in catching a big sea-fish named Marlin. With great effort he does so. Through his innate genius and the power of narrative, Hemingway turns Santiago’s adventure into a brilliant work of art. The descriptions are vivid and realistic. The action is thriving and exciting. Santiago’s struggle against Merlin and sharks is really astonishing.
Hemingway’s art of characterization
Ernest Hemingway is known for his art of characterization. It shows him as a great literary artist and craftsman. His characters are vivid and realistic. They participate in the action and the development of the plot. The heroes in his novels are remarkable characters. They have similarity. They are like their own creator. They are drawn with their great authenticity. The heroes of this novelist are of two types. The first type of hero suffers physically and psychologically. They are disillusioned and alienated from society. The second type of hero is called code hero. These characters have moral qualities and they act with their individual code. On the whole Hemingway’s heroes are men of action and adventure.
In The Old Man and the Sea there are two important characters named Santiago and Manolin. It is Santiago who is the hero of the novel. He belongs to the category of code hero. He is a very poor and an old fisherman. He has deep sense of honour and he has a great capacity to suffer and endure. His suffering and endurance elevate him to lofty heights. Manolin has been presented with great sincerity and conviction. In short, Hemingway is a great delineator of characters.
Hemingway’s use of symbolism
Hemingway is a great symbolist. He makes an effective use of symbolism to convey his message in a subtle way. He employs it to deepen the meaning and significance of his writings. He makes a very limited and judicious use of symbolism. The Old Man and the Sea has many Christian symbols. Santiago symbolizes the Christ. Like Christ he is humble. He suffers a lot like Christ during his struggle with Merlin. The great Merlin and the sharks are also symbolic. Thus the symbolism is an essence of Hemingway’s writings.
Hemingway’s novels are known for autobiographical elements. These elements offer the touch of realism to his novels. He writes on the basis of his personal experience. His heroes have been depicted after himself. He was not only a visionary but he was a realist. The persons of his novels are the persons he had met with in his actual life. The places were known to him. In The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago is Hemingway himself. Hemingway lived among Cuban fishermen for many years. Like Hemingway his hero Santiago is majestic and unique. Thus Hemingway’s novels are full of autobiographical elements.
Hemingway is a great literary stylist. His style is characterized by simplicity, clarity and economy. His prose has the force of the prose of the Bible. Objectivity and the brevity are other virtues of his style. His novels are symbolical and allegorical. His story is gripping, the action is swift and the characterization is vivid and realistic. In short, the style of this novelist suits to his purpose. Thus Ernest Hemingway is a great novelist. He achieved a place in the annals of world literature which is hard to achieve and surpass. He got the most prestigious Nobel Prize for his literary contribution.