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On the Manhood in face of Tragedy Theme of The Old Man and the Sea

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DOI: 10.25236/sser.2019.072


Yongkun Wan

Corresponding Author

Yongkun Wan


The Old Man and the Sea, the peak of Ernest Hemingway’s works, portrays an old Cuban fisherman, Santiago, triumphant even in defeat. Integrated with Hemingway’s individual life and artistic attainments, this thesis intends to demonstrate the theme of The Old Man and the Sea and analyze Ernest Hemingway how to gradually bring this theme to his readers. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, an allegory of inner strength and courage about an old Cuban fisherman’s struggle to bring home a giant marlin he has caught after innumerable hardships, actually deals with the theme of manhood in face of tragedy. Ernest Hemingway, the spokesman of the “Lost Generation” and one of the most beloved and greatest American writers of the twentieth century throughout the world, was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1954 for literature as “mastery of the art of modern narration”[1]. The Old Man and the Sea, published near the end of his life, mainly tells a story of the back-breaking and losing struggle between the old fisherman and the giant fish—a marlin. In a tragic sense, it is a representation of life as a struggle against unconquerable natural forces in which only a partial victory is possible. Nevertheless, there is a feeling of great respect for the struggle and mankind. Because the connotations of The Old Man and the Sea are rather diverse and complex, its theme has always interested its readers and led to some disputes.


The Old Man and the Sea; Ernest Hemingway; Theme; Manhood; Tragedy