Old Man and the Sea

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A Man Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated –The Struggle of Life in “The Old Man and the Sea”

A Man Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated – The Struggle of Life in “The Old Man and the Sea”

Sophie Chen(陳昱均) Class 201 National Dali Senior High School March.17, 2007

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A Man Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated –The Struggle of Life in “The Old Man and the Sea”

I. Introduction

The Old Man and the Sea is one of the finest works of literature of the 20th century, and was published in 1952 after the bleakest ten years in Hemingway's literary career. It helps the author Ernest Hemingway win a Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. It is the deceivingly simple story of an old Cuban fisherman, named Santiago, who undergoes the most difficult struggle of his life. Despite being a relatively short work, the novella is filled not only with drama but with the parable of one man's perseverance through the hardest of times. The courage and determination of an old fisherman shines through while trying to catch a fish that will truly test his ability. Far out to the sea, alone in a small boat, he hooks the very fish of his life. It is a tale of the battle between the fish and the old man for survival ensues, as they push each other to their physical limits, alone with each other in the ocean far away.(1) In the following passagaes, I attempt to illustrate the essay in three parts, which are: Literary Significance and Critisism, Symbolism in the Sea Life, and The Essence of the Book.

II. Thesis

1. Literary significance and criticism

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A Man Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated –The Struggle of Life in “The Old Man and the Sea”

1.1 Writing Backround

Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway was raised with the conservative Midwestern values of strong religion, hard work, physical fitness and self determination; if one adhered to these parameters, he was taught, and he would be ensured of success in whatever field he chose. As a boy he was taught by his father to hunt and fish along the shores and in the forests surrounding Lake Michigan. (2) As he grew up, he traveled extensively in Europe, including serving in WWI. Due to the impact of WWI, writers’ innermost feelings came across great buffet. The miserable WWI made people disorient, and the litterateur called the writers born in 1890s as well as Hemingway “The Lost Generation” (3). Their characters show deep disorients and hover to their life, the society, and the world.

In 1921 he settled in Paris and began to develop his successful career as a writer. Hemingway’s writing style developed in this time when he worked as a newspaper reporter and correspondent early in his career which is simple and compact, with short sentences and paragraphs lack of verbosity. However, this straightforward style often conveys complex themes. Among his later works, the most outstanding is the short

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A Man Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated –The Struggle of Life in “The Old Man and the Sea”

novella, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), the story of an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat.

1.2 Winning the great honor, Nobel Prize in Literature 1954

The Old Man and the Sea led to numerous accolades for Hemingway, including the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He also earned the Award of Merit Medal for the Novella from the American Academy of Letters that same year. Most prestigiously, the Nobel Prize in Literature came in 1954, "For his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style."(4)

1.3 Criticisms

The Old Man and the Sea served to reinvigorate Hemingway's literary...
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