Earnest Hemmingway is an accomplished author with a large audience. While short novels like The Old Man and the Sea have intrigued many, his war stories have won him a Nobel Prize. Hemmingway possesses a writing style all his own, his ability to write descriptively is unparalleled. His use of similar themes, symbolism, irony, and similar main characters is very profound.
Hemmingway’s use of theme makes his writing style significant. In The Old Man and the Sea Santiago went through a lot of trouble to catch his magnificent fish and didn’t want to loose it. The author writes, ?He did not want to look at the fish. He knew that half of him had been destroyed.? This quote shows Santiago’s sadness over the destruction of the fish, due to a shark attack. After Santiago caught his gigantic fish, it was totally destroyed by a series of shark attacks as Santiago sailed it home. Hemmingway states, ?The shark came in a rush and the old man hit him as he shut his jaws.? This passage shows how Santiago’s moment of happiness was ruined, and his desperate effort to protect his historical catch. In A Farewell to Arms Fredric did not want to lose Catherine. The hardships they experienced together drew them very close, so losing Catherine was ver difficult for Fredric. A quotation from page 332 states, ?It was like saying good-by to a statue.? This sentence reflects Fredric’ trouble with letting her go and his desire for a last good-by with Catherine the person, not just her lifeless body. Also, in the two novels, once an awaited moment of happiness arrives, it is ruined shortly thereafter by an undesirable event. After Catherine had her baby, they discovered that it was dead. A quote from the final chapter refers to this, ?They couldn’t start him breathing. The cord was caught around his neck or something.? This quote tells a reader that the baby was born lifeless, or else died shortly after birth. Catherine also died after she had her baby. Once again the quote, ?It was like saying good-by to a statue,? come into play. This time the quotation simply shows that Catherine is dead, and the happiness that the birth of a new child should bring was destroyed. Hemmingway also utilizes symbolism in his unique writing style.
Earnest Hemmingway uses symbolism in his method of writhing. He writes, ?He is a great fish.? The amazing mass of the fish, as shown in the quote, symbolizes the extreme effort it would take to capture such a creature. However, the effort would normally reward a fisherman greatly. In A Farewell to Arms the author states, ?I’m afraid of the rain because sometimes I see me dead in it.? This quote not only symbolizes but also foreshadows how unpleasant and sometimes dreadful things seem to happen to Catherine while it is raining. In chapter 16 it says, ?That night a bat flew into the room through the open door.? This occurs the night before Fredric is due to have an operation against the advise of three doctors, and symbolizes the possibility that he is not ready for the procedure and could be permanently damaged. ?They (the X-rays Fredric had taken of his legs) were in red envelopes.? Red is a symbol of death, war, and terror. A red envelope could symbolize the disastrous contents. Along with symbolism, Hemmingway makes a habit of using irony in his works of literature.
Hemmingway’s use of irony in his stories is very evident. On page 110 of The Old Man and the Sea Santiago says, ?I wish it were a dream and that I had never hooked him. I’m sorry about it fish. It makes everything wrong.? This is verbal irony because the old man had always wanted to catch such a fish. In chapter 14 of A Farewell to Arms Fredric is lying wounded in a hospital bed, the author states, ?’Good morning,’ she said. ?Did you have a good night?’ ?Yes thanks very much.? This is verbal irony because Fredric was recently injured by a Mortar shell, the physical pain as well as the emotional pain of being uncertain of what the near future holds would be unbearable. Therefore Fredric could not have had a good night regardless of what drugs they may have given him. A quote spoken by Dr. Valintini states, ?I’ll make you better than new.? This is verbal irony because Fredric was injured very badly and his legs would probably never be the same again let alone better than new. Hemmingway uses irony in his method of writing but he also has similar main characters.
The main characters in Hemmingway’s novels are often similar. For example, Santiago is similar to Fredric in that they are both pursuing something that requires great effort and will reap grand rewards. Santiago is trying to wear down the ?fish of a lifetime’ which will earn him much money of brought to market and sold. ?He is a great fish.? This quote shows the large profits Santiago could make off this large fish, so he could buy a radio to ?bring him to baseball.’ Fredric is courting Catherine. This requires great effort on his part because he has to prove his worth to her. If successful, he could be rewarded with a family. Fredric states, ?I want you to ruin me.? This quote shows that he is willing to sacrifice his bachelor status on Catherine’s behalf. Both Fredric and Santiago put the required effort into their pursuits and achieved their goals, only to have them spoiled. Fredric lost both Catherine and the baby during childbirth and sharks mutilated the fish.
Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel Prize winning author, has a style that is both unique and extraordinary. His use of symbolism and irony requires a deeper thought process to fully interpret the content of his work. His use of theme and main characterization is strikingly similar from story to Nobel Prize winning story.