What was the author's style in the book The Old Man and the Sea?

Expert Answers
mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ernest Hemingway's style is a combination of allegorical and plain/tough (journalistic).

Hemingway emulates the allegorical style of Biblical fables: the story of Jonah and the Whale and Christ's parables to his disciples.  He uses much spoken interior monologue so as to reveal Santiago's suffering while alone on the skiff.

In terms of style of writing, he's the master of the plain/tough journalistic style.  Here are some qualities:

-high frequency words

-monosyllabic words

-contractions, articles

-1st person pronouns

-action verbs, active tense


-Anglo-Saxon words

-simple sentences

-short, choppy

-compound sentences (lots of coordinating conjunctions “and”)


-informal (causal)

-male (macho)

-ethos (credibility)

-trustworthiness of the writer

-inductive reasoning

-stream of consciousness

-in medias res


-metaphor, simile


-double meanings

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many people point to the simplicity of Hemingway's style in both "The Old Man and the Sea" and his other novels and stories.  So much of his prose is very direct, without the use of many compound or complex sentences.  His characters speak in short, declarative sentences and they an appear simplistic at first glance.  Of course, Hemingway's works are not, in total, overly simple.

Because of the straight forward style of "The Old Man and the Sea," the conflicts between the old man and nature are very clear and powerful.  We know how the man feels, what things look and feel like on a basic level, in this way Hemingway's style contributes to the power of the story.

Read the study guide:
The Old Man and the Sea

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question