Man’s Helplessness Against Destiny in Ernest Hemingway’s The Oldman and The Sea


  • Dr Mayurkumar Mukund Bhai Solanki Assistant Professor of English, Growmore College of Engineering Himatnagar, Affiliated to GTU Ahmedabad, Gujarat. India



Ernest Hemingway, an American writer, produced considerable novels in the history of English literature. Hemingway’s The Oldman and the Sea is a story of an old man's struggle and his helplessness against destiny. Like Greek tragedians, Hemingway accepts the harshness of destiny in man’s life. It is very well said “Man proposes and God disposes" that denotes the role of destiny in man's life. The story of The Oldman and the Sea is universal because it reveals how human beings struggle to get something in life but sometimes crushed under the wheels of destiny. The old man has an indomitable spirit and sea experience yet he is unable to catch the fish for a few days. One day, he caught the big fish called the Marlin but it was too big for him to drag to the shore. The Old man tried to drag the Marlin to the shore but in a midway, its blood attracted the Sharks and he brought only its skeleton on the shore. So Hemingway talks about the helplessness of man against destiny through the character of an old man. This paper is a sincere effort to display man's helplessness against destiny through the character of an old man. 

Ernest Miller Hemingway is known as Ernest Hemingway in English literature, was an American journalist, novelist, short story writer and sportsman. Hemingway wrote seven novels during his lifetime and among them, the popular novels are The Sun Also Rises, Farewell to Arms, and The Old man and the Sea. The Old man and the Sea brought him a good name and fame in literature. Hemingway’s works mainly deal with the themes of love, war, wilderness, and loss. Farewell to Arms deals with the theme of the futility of war. In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway says, "The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong in broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” ( _ Hemingway) It seems that there is always conflict between good and evil in this world but some people remain strong in broken places. The greater power called destiny crushes everyone under its wheels impartially. In this connection, Omar Khayyam writes:


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Hemingway, Ernest. The Oldman and the Sea, Scribner Classic, 1996, p.22
Ibid. 60
Shams, Isteyaque. The Novels of Ernest Hemingway: A Critical Study, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, p. 95
Ibid.96 _ Hemingway




How to Cite

Bhai Solanki, D. M. M. (2020). Man’s Helplessness Against Destiny in Ernest Hemingway’s The Oldman and The Sea. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 8(6), 1–7.