The Old Man and the Sea Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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How did Hemingway reflect modernism? What are some modernist themes in The Old Man and the Sea?

Hemingway reflected modernism in that he presented the modern themes of nihilism and meaninglessness in an arbitrary universe which neither punishes vice nor rewards virtue.

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Ernest Hemingway was both a modernist and a realist and was a leading figure in both movements. His laconic style presents the reader with minimal description and dialogue, eschewing commentary, moral judgment, or psychological explanation. Although Hemingway exhibits a preference for locations and situations far from the Middle America of his birth, often setting his work in Europe or Africa, he tends nonetheless to depict ordinary people struggling with the vicissitudes of everyday life. These modern subjects are depicted in the harsh and arbitrary atmosphere of modernity, in which there is no higher power to reward virtue or punish vice but only a pitiless struggle for survival which his protagonists may very well lose.

In The Old Man and The Sea , Hemingway presents these themes with his characteristic hard-edged style, which emphasizes the harshness of Santiago’s existence. He has had no luck for months, and when he finally does catch a fish, his epic struggle in landing the monster...

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