• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Hemingway introduce the two main characters in The Old Man and the Sea?

Extracts from this document...


How does Hemingway introduce the two main characters in The Old Man and the Sea? "The Old Man and the Sea", one of Ernest Hemingway's most famous novellas, has but two main characters (three if you include the fish) - The Old Man, a fisherman, and "the boy", his companion for his voyage in attempting to catch the mighty fish. Hemingway's famously simple style is no more obvious than in the beginning sentence of the book, introducing The Old Man - "He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream". The man's predicament is introduced, again, with very basic language, and the existence of the boy thrown in seeming almost out of place. The basic scenario is all covered in the first paragraph in very simple language, mostly words of one syllable, and little emotion obvious, apart from the Old Man's lack of success at fishing described as "[making] the boy sad". Then in the second paragraph, we have a burst of descriptive detail and colourful phrases describing the physical appearance of the Old Man - his hands with "deep-creased scars ...read more.


present participles make it sound like a very young child recalling a memory or talking about something exciting that has just happened to him, so it seems that the memory has not changed since he was that young - as he says, "I remember everything from when we first went out together". The language is very inclusive, he doesn't say "when I first went out", and they are certainly very close. The Man looks on him with "loving" eyes, and talks as if he was his father ("If you were my boy I'd take you out and gamble", but is too wise to get carried away with the fantasy - "But you are your father's and mother's". He says it with no resentment, but one could detect longing in the text. The next scene is almost surreal - they are back at the Old Man's house, a one-roomed shack. They talk about what to eat - "A pot of yellow rice with fish", and the fishing arrangements for the next day "May I take the cast net". ...read more.


Then, as quickly as the roles were reversed, they are reset, as the boy asks "Tell me about the baseball", and the Old Man is now like a grandfather relating stories of his youth to a child on his knee. Their conversation about baseball leads to the boy asking "Who is the greatest manager, really, Luque or Mike Gonzalez", the old man saying he thinks them equal, and then suddenly the boy, as a very young child might, says "And the best fisherman is you". Like conversation with a very young child, the topic completely changes, and he comes up with this childish sentence, and the rest of the conversation is from a father to a son, including the old man saying "I'll wake you up in the morning" Although we have had no physical description of the boy at all, not even his name, we feel we know him, due to Hemingway's skill with intimate dialogue, and we can see the very odd relationship that the boy and the Old Man hold - sometimes that of a father/son relationship, then business partners as fishers, and the boy caring for the old man. The mood can change in an instant, and it is compelling reading ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Ernest Hemingway section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Ernest Hemingway essays

  1. Study Questions for the Short Story, "Hills Like White Elephants" by Hemingway

    Her final comment that there's nothing wrong with me lets us know that she no longer sees the pregnancy as something wrong (286). She has accepted her pregnancy and plans to keep the baby. In conclusion, Ernest Hemingway's short story Hills like White Elephants is about a man and a woman struggling to deal with an unwanted baby.

  2. The old man and the sea analysis.

    Hemingway designed his plot in this manner to make the story more interesting. If Santiago had caught the marlin and sailed back home a hero, it would have been just another adventure tale. By introducing the series of shark attacks, Hemingway shows Santiago going from "riches to rags", refusing to cave in to despair.

  1. A Farewell To Arms Analysis. Throughout the novel A Farewell to Arms the ...

    The priest is the last character in the novel that is looking for relief. Although unlike the rest of the characters, his diversionary tactics are not harmful. He looks to his faith in God to sustain him. While interacting with the other soldiers he is constantly under attack about his faith, but he remains true to it.

  2. Hemingway's Descriptive technique

    "It is killing me," he says. Of Henry he says, "you act like a married man," almost accusing him of having changed.

  1. The Old Man and the Sea is a book by Ernest Hemingway. The author's ...

    upset because you begin to see the fish as a person, and it seems like Santiago will be losing a close part of himself by losing the fish. The book continues to stir up emotions and to hit the reader hard.

  2. An example of Hemmingway writing positively is when he writes about the reaction of ...

    I think this is because he had just told a woman who loved him that he wanted to break up with her. From what I know in society, when you tell a partner you want to break up with them, you expect an emotional response.

  1. Is age significant for an understanding of the old man's burdens?

    Unfortunately for the old man, the light in the cafe is an artificial one, and its peace is both temporary and incomplete. We as the reader discover through the conversation between both waiters that the old man recently attempted suicide.

  2. Santiagos power of observation in "The Old Man and the Sea".

    A man can be destroyed but not defeated. The ideal of Joe DiMaggio?s courage gives Santiago spiritual strength. Again, he dreams not of a single lion-?king of the beasts?, a lion proud, powerful and alone. He only dreams of places now and the lions on the beach, nor of women, storms, contest of strength, fights, great fish, nor even his wife.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work