The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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What literary devices does Hemingway use in the book The Old Man and The Sea?  

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The literary devices (elements and techniques) that Ernest Hemingway uses in the novella The Old Man and The Sea include:

A distinct protagonist

In this story the protagonist is Santiago. He is an old fisherman who is still trying to battle the elements and his own weaknesses to continue fishing and support himself.

A distinct setting

The setting of the novella for most of the action is the Gulf Stream and this is where Santiago wages his battle against the forces of nature.

Conflict

Conflict is essential to excellent drama. Conflict in The Old Man and The Sea is the battle between the giant marlin and Santiago as he tries to haul this huge catch in. Conflict is also Santiago versus the sharks; these sharks end up destroying the marlin and leave nothing really for Santiago to bring to market for money.

Conflict in the story also involves Santiago against himself – man against himself. This is when someone battles their fears, physical weaknesses, inhibitions, and more as they seek to achieve a goal. It is a matter of someone overcoming faults and/or weaknesses to achieve a goal or a certain kind of success.

Dialogue

Hemingway moves the story along at a brisk pace through the use of crisp and direct dialogue.

Simile

An example of simile in The Old Man and the Sea is in this line:

His shirt had been patched so many times that it was like the sail...

Santiago’s shirt is being compared to a sail. With so many patches it resembled the sail. Here we see two different objects compared so as to see the likeness between them.

Imagery

The reader, through imagery, can understand the characteristics of the big fish...

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jaaanette14 | Student

oh thankyou so much this really helped! (:

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