Character Analysis: The Old Man and the Sea

Pages: 13 (5417 words) Published: December 27, 2013


Huang Jikui

June, 2007
Xiaogan University

The Old Man and the Sea tells the frustrated experience that the old fisherman fishes in the course. The theme is deep, and it is a song of praise of heroism. “But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated” has been the classic saying and the old man also has been the most typical and the most representative of the Hemingway’s “tough guy”. When Hemingway talked about the successful factors later, the little boy was mentioned in the same breath with the old man. This paper starts with the details and it is divided into two main parts to discuss the indispensable roles of the little boy in the novel. It is him who helps to perform the theme of “grace under pressure”: during 40 days, the old man with the little boy went to fish but without taking a fish, when his situation was getting worse step by step, the little boy’s leaving was the heavy pressure that achieved the extreme stern for certain. However, it was so “heavy pressure” that his manner was graceful when the old man faced afterwards defeat and his optimistic, generous life attitude was worthy tasting by people carefully; it is him who plays the role of leading, inspiring to the readers, and increasing the appeal of the work, enriching the content of the work: although the little boy appears only at the beginning and the ending in the novel, there is nothing in his inner state but the old man, so his attitude and emotions towards the old man affects the readers’ emotions for the old man quietly and gradually. And it is unavoidable that his inner feeling leads and impacts the readers’ emotions.

Key words: roles; the little boy; the old man; grace under pressure; The Old Man and the Sea


摘 要

《老人与海》讲述了老渔夫捕鱼过程中的坎坷经历,主题深刻,是一部英雄主义的赞歌。“一个人不是生来就要被打败的,你可以消灭他,但就是打不败他。”已经成为至理名言,老人也成为海明威式“硬汉子”的最典型、最完美的代表。当海明威谈到小说成功的因素时,曾颇为自得地将小男孩与老人相提并论。 本文拟从有关细节入手,分析讨论小男孩在《老人与海》中所起的微妙且不可或缺的作用:是他帮助表现了“重压下的优雅风度”这一主题:在老人84天没有捕到鱼,处境一步步恶化的厄运中,小男孩的离去无疑让老人的“重压”达到了极度严峻的地步,然而正是由于如此的“重压”,老人后来面对失败时的态度才可谓“优雅”,所表现的大度、乐观的人生态度才值得人们仔细地品味;是他对读者发挥着一定的牵引、打动和启发作用,从而增强了作品的感染力,丰富了作品的内涵:孩子虽然只出现在小说的首尾两处,但是孩子的内心世界里别无他物,只有老人,他对老人的态度和感情潜移默化地左右着读者对老人的感受,他的内心情感无可避免地要牵动影响着读者的情绪。


1. Introduction1
1.1 About the background1
1.2 About the novel1
2. The roles of the boy in The Old Man and The Sea2
2.1 Helping show the old man’s pressure2
2.2 Offering a method to perform the old man’s grace3
2.3 The little boy is the best complement to the old man’s character4 3. The roles in moving and inspiring readers7
3.1 The little boy’s emotion7
3.2 The little boy’s sympathy in the static stage…8
3.3 The little boy’s respect and worry in the subtle, fluctuating stage8 3.4 The little boy’s affirmation in the outbreak stage8
4. Conclusion9

The Roles of the Boy in The Old Man and the Sea

1. Introduction
1.1 About the background
Before 1952, Hemingway has met the cold shoulder and attack in the sector which lasts for nearly a decade. To rescue the declining reputation, he publishes a new work, that is, The Old Man and the Sea. He believes firmly that it is the best work he can write in his lifetime. William Faulkner considers it as the most excellent work in this generation. Because of this work Hemingway wins the Pulitzer in 1952 and the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954 which push his writing career to the peak. The Old Man and the Sea is so important to Hemingway and the American literature that there are lots of comments about it. But the research on the little boy, Mandolin, is minimal. It seems that his role is irrelevant and unimportant to the novel. In fact, the appearance of the little boy is the emergence of a...

Bibliography: 1. Burhans Jr. . S. Clinton. “The Old Man and the Sea: Hemingway’s Tragic Vision of Man,” in Ernest Hemingway: Critiques of Four Major Novels, ed. Carlos. Baker. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1962, p.155.
2. Carlos. Baker. Hemingway: The Writer as Artist, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1972, p.309
4. Ernest Hemingway. “The Old Man and the Sea, Carlos. Scribner’s sons”, New York, World Publishing Corporation, Beijing, 1989
6. K Singer. “Hemingway: Life and Death of A Giant”. Holloway House Publishing company[M], 1963
8. William Faulkner. “Shnandoah” (1952), in Hemingway, The Critical Heritage, ed. Jeffrey Meyers, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, Boston and Henley, 1982, p.414.
9. 董衡巽 海明威谈创作[M].生活. 读书. 新知三联书店, 1985年, 第140, 51, 3, 145, 40页
13. 李启光 老人与海赏析[J].见外国文学研究, 1983年第四期,第84页
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