The philosophical and symbolic content of the story of Hemingway’s parable “The Old Man and the Sea”

The story “The Old Man and the Sea” is one of the last completed works of the legend of the American literature of Ernest Hemingway, an original result of the author’s creative search. Literary critics define the genre of this work as a story-parable, that is, a work that tells about the fate and certain events of the hero’s life, but this story has an allegorical character, deep moral and philosophical content. The story is closely connected with all previous works of the writer and is the pinnacle of his reflection on the meaning of life. The plot can be recounted in several sentences. Lonely old fisherman lives. Recently, fishing luck, like people, left him, but the old man does not give up. He again and again goes into the sea, and finally he is lucky: a big fish caught the bait, the struggle of the old man and the fish lasts for several days, and man wins, and gluttonous sharks attack the prey of a fisherman and destroy it. When the old man’s boat sticks

to the shore, from the beautiful fish almost nothing remains. The exhausted old man returns to his poor hut.

However, the content of the story is much wider and richer. Hemingway likened his works to the iceberg, which only a small part can be seen from the water, and the rest are hidden in the ocean space. The artistic text is part of the iceberg, which is visible on the surface, and the reader can only guess what the writer left unspoken, gave to the reader’s interpretation. Therefore, the story has a deep symbolic content.

Already the very title of the work “The Old Man and the Sea” causes the reader certain associations, hints at the main problems: man and nature, corruptible and eternal, ugly and beautiful and the like. Heroes and events of the story concretize these associations, deepen and sharpen the problems stated in the title.

The old man symbolizes human experience and at the same time its limitations. Next to the old fisherman, the author depicts a little boy who is studying, adopting the experience of the old man. But when the fishing luck leaves the hero, parents

forbid the boy to go out with him to sea. In the duel with the fish, the old man needs help very much, and he regrets that there is no boy next to him, and he understands that this is natural. Old age, he thinks, should not be lonely, and this is inevitable.

The theme of human loneliness is revealed by the author in the symbolic pictures of the shuttle against the background of the boundless ocean. The ocean symbolizes both eternity and an irresistible natural force. The old man won a beautiful fish, but the ocean did not give him prey, the sharks ate it. Hemingway is confident that a person can be destroyed, but it is impossible to win. The old man proved his ability to resist nature, he withstood the most difficult test of his life, because, regardless of loneliness, he thought about people.

In the final of the story, Hemingway also deals with the topic of misunderstanding between people. He depicts a group of tourists who are amazed only by the size of the skeleton of a fish and do not understand the tragedy of an old man that one of the heroes tries to tell them.

The symbolism of the story is complex, and every reader, in accordance with his experience, perceives this work.

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The philosophical and symbolic content of the story of Hemingway’s parable “The Old Man and the Sea”