In the book The Old Man and the Sea, what does the author do to make the novel effective?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most important aspect of Hemingway's writing is its clarity. He avoided purple prose and elaborate metaphors, preferring simple metaphor and symbolism with straightforward, clean sentences. This gives the story an immediacy which drives the reader forward, always looking to the next sentence to find out what happens next.

I wonder what he made that lurch for, he thought. The wire must have slipped on the great hill of his back. Certainly his back cannot feel as badly as mine does. But he cannot pull this skiff forever...

"Fish," he said softly, aloud, "I'll stay with you until I am dead."
(Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, Google Books)

This selection also shows Hemingway's frequent use of internal monologue, which allows insight into Santiago's thoughts. Instead of the narrator explaining every single action, Santiago often veers off into introspection, giving his character depth while not removing the reader from the story; after all, many memories take only seconds to recall. Santiago's strong personal voice coupled with the dispassionate narration allow the reader to interpret events on a personal level, rather than being told what to think about the story.

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The Old Man and the Sea

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