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курсовая работа The stylistic analysis of Hemingways The Old Man and the Sea"
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State University of Psychology and Education
Faculty of Modern Languages
« The stylistic analysis of Hemingway’s
“The Old Man and the Sea»
Style and stylistic
Form and structure……………………………………………14
The list of the
Style and stylistic analysis.
is the dress of thoughts;
and let them be ever so just,
if your style is homely, coarse, and vulgar,
they will appear to as much disadvantage."
(Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield) 1
modern English the word “style” is polysemous. The Oxford dictionary
gives the following entry:
noun (plural styles)
the way something
is done, made, said, or written etc.
the part of a pistil
that supports the stigma in a plant.
first meaning presented in the entry is more or less suitable for the
topic we deal with. But still I suppose it is necessary to clear up
the content of the lexeme “style” relative to fiction works.
years ago the Latin word stylus meant "a pointed instrument
used for writing." Nowadays, definitions of style point not
to the instrument used by the writer but to characteristics of the writing
way in which something is said, done, expressed, or performed: a style
of speech and writing. Narrowly interpreted as those figures that ornament
discourse; broadly, as representing a manifestation of the person speaking
or writing. All figures of speech fall within the domain of style. Jonathan
Swift determined this term in the following way: "Proper words
in proper places, make the true definition of style."
fiction works presupposes examining of linguistic means and the features
of their contextual using. Being the only source of creative self-expression
of the writer, a work reflects uniqueness of artist’s world-view.
That is the individual author’s style.
aim of this particular work is to explore “The Old Man and the
Sea” from the point of view of stylistics and to highlight those
features of Hemingway’s individual style which are presented in the
text of the narrative.
writer’s problem does not change. He himself changes, but his problem
remains the same. It is always how to write truly and, having found
what is true, to project it in such way that it becomes a part of the
experience of the person who reads it.2
Miller Hemingway was a famous American writer. In 1954 he was awarded
by The Nobel Prize in Literature "for his mastery of the art
of narrative, most recently demonstrated in
“The Old Man and the Sea”, and for the influence that he has exerted
on contemporary style". Undoubtedly this particular story
can not be considered as an expression of his modern diction. The matter
is “The Old Man and the Sea” is a quite traditional book
for Hemingway from the point of view of stylistics. He introduced the
newest style in those works which had been written much earlier. Nevertheless
the Nobel Committee fastened to reward the writer for this narrative,
until he did not create another “time bomb”.
what is it like, this legendary Hemingway’s style? Is it conciseness
journalistic diction and reticence of his first books or maybe wider
breath of “For whom the Bell Tombs”, terse minimalism or
vivid dialogue, laconism of expressions or detailed description? It
is neither one, nor another separately, but everything taken together.
Hemingway is a deft craftsman of words. He managed to combine all these
incompatible characteristics in one style. It is extremely difficult
to describe the writing style of such a master of the art of narrative
because Hemingway was developing during his life and his views and the
manner of writing were also changing. There exist genre, topical, compositional
and linguistic distinctions between Hemingway’s creative works referred
to earlier and later periods. The explorers marked the exact boarder
between two periods. It takes in the middle of the thirties. They ascribed
all the three collected stories and novels “Fiesta, and the Sun
Also Rises” and “Farewell to the Arms” to the first
period. And the second period is presented by two long African stories,
“The Old Man and the Sea”, novels “To Have or
Have not”, “Across the River and into the Trees”, “For
whom the Bell Tombs” and “Islands in the Ocean”.
most popular means of realization of creative individuality of the author
are lexical composition and syntactic structure of the narration. Therefore
this work is dedicated to these two scopes of the inquiry.
composition of narration is explored first of all concerning of frequency
of using of this or that lexeme.
biggest group of high-frequency words is presented by syncategorematic
and synsematic words. The per cent of these lexemes in the word
list is 1% or even less. At the same time they are over 50% of the
text. It’s impossible that such a great part of the fiction work were
not used for making this or that impression.
per cent of the definite article in Hemingway’s texts is 8,3%.
First paragraphs contain 12-17 % of the same category. The explanation
of this fact is in the creative method of the artist. There are no works
which first chapters presuppose acquaintance with future characters
and places. Any object mentioned for the first time is accompanied with
the definite article. The definite article presupposes forestalling
mentioning of the lexeme. It makes the beginning of the story look as
if it was not beginning but continuation. “The beginning from the
middle” makes the readers think that there’s some information outside
the text, it creates an implication of precedence, increase textual
capacity. This feature also presents in “The Old Man and the Sea”.
There are 10 definite articles and only one indefinite article among
80 words contained in the second paragraph. The whole story contains
84,1% of definite articles and only 15,9% of indefinite ones whereas
usually article ratio is 60-70% - 30-40%.
same aim is reached by initial using of the third person pronouns,
which are used before names. An unknown character or object is perceived
as if it had been already mentioned. “The Old Man and the Sea”
begins with: “He was an old man who fished alone…” while
the old man’s name – Santiago - appears only at the fourth paragraph.
The same can be said about the boy and his name (Manolin). By the way
Hemingway uses “Santiago” only three times and “the old man”
202 times in the narrative; Manolin – 2 times and “the boy” –
96 times. Such frequency can be explained by using the third person
pronouns in the remarks for dialogues. The subject is expressed by the
pronoun in 60% of the remarks.
one more mean on reaching the same aim, it is demonstrative pronoun.
Nevertheless in “The Old Man and the Sea” this method is
prepositions and adverbs also fulfill a stylistic function. They
are about 10% of the text and they are utilized as concentrated groups
in one phrase: “The boy was
back now with the sardines and
the two baits wrapped in a newspaper and they went
down the trail
to the skiff, feeling the pebbled sand
under their feet, and lifted the skiff and slid her
into the water.” Locative groups express all
the movings and locations of the characters and the objects. Its frequency
can be explained by the author’s wish to make the effect of trustworthiness
of the events by means of detailed description of outer, virtually existing
are also high-frequency group of words. The most popular ones are:
and (one of the
final pages contains 59 of “and”)
Hemingway combines polysyndeton and frequent usage of prepositions in
one sentence: “He no longer dreamed
of storms, nor
of women, nor of great occurrences,
nor of great fish, nor fights,
nor contests of strength,
nor of his wife.”
but (most of the
pages contain 6- 9 of “but”)
then (many pages
contain 5- 8 of “but)
second cluster of high-frequency words are topical and key
words. Their usage is caused by the topic of the work. That is a
category of lexemes which can predict its common sense being isolated.
Signifying one and the same denotata the thematic word becomes more
and more concrete on one hand and on the other hand it gains
several connotations. As a result it can be said that the word assumes
a special character: it has a special meaning in the particular fiction
work. Compare the word “bridge” in “For whom the Bell Tombs”
and its common meaning and “fish”, “sea” in “The Old Man
and the Sea”. It is significant to say about the word “luck”
and its derivatives and synonyms. As luck is one of the key topics of
the work, and maybe even a character of the story, Hemingway uses it
rather often. (luck, lucky, fortune, salao). This word
gains negative connotation because the old man’s fortune is not really
happy: “ I am not lucky. I am not
lucky anymore. - The hell with
luck - the boy said.
- I’ll bring the luck with me.”
topical and key words there are other lexemes. They reflect creative
views and preferences of the author. Verbs “looked”, “said”
fulfill this function.
remarks of the dialogues are cliched. The writer uses only two words
for naming of speech process. They are “said” (189 times/
the text), “told” (9 times/ the text) and “asked” (17 times/the
text). The latter is usually used for describing conversations of the
man with the boy, with the fish and with the bird. In the same situations
there used “told”. And also you can meet “told” in the following
context: “the old man told himself” It is significant that
such verbs as “talked” and “spoke” are not mentioned in the
story. Stereotyping nature of the most of author’s remarks is not
the result of the absence of fantasy. Vice versa it indicates the artist’s
aim at showing instead of telling. The character’s speech plays a
paramount role. And the pale remark being a background makes the reader
to pay his or her attention only at the most significant parts of the
frequency of using “looked” is also explained by this principle.
Hemingway does not like telling anything from the narrator’s point
of view. He describes everything by what the character sees. “He
looked down into the water and saw the red sifting
of the plankton…”. Here is a formula of using “look”
in “The Old Man and the Sea”: “…he looked back/behind/across/up/…
and saw …”
second cluster of notional words consists of “favorite” words. As
for Hemingway these are “work” and “way” which
are used in many different meanings, “smooth” and “clean”
with all kinds of nouns.
each description contains information about colors. With the development
of writing craft you can see increasing and quality changing of Hemingway’s
manner of coloring his pictures. The aim is to make the reader believe
in the reality, to make the descriptions more detailed, trustworthy:
“The clouds over the land now rose like mountains and the coast
was only a long green line with the
gray blue hills behind it. The
water was a dark
blue now, so dark that it was
almost purple. As he looked down into it he saw
the red sifting of the plankton in the
dark water and the strange
light the sun made now.” The most of colors describe
the same objects during the story, e.g.
blue – water;
the fish’s back, fin, head; hills;
yellow – weed,
green – coast,
purple – backs,
heads, fins, spots, stripes of various fish; filaments;
and other rhetorical figures play an important role in
any fiction work, that is why I suppose it is not worth to examining
the text from this point of view. Among early works by Hemingway you
can hardly find any examples. Those few you can find are clished, they
are hyperbole, oxymoron, metonymy. The works of the later period contain
increased number of rhetorical devices, especially epithet, metaphor,
comparison: “He looked at the sky and saw the white cumulus built
like friendly piles of ice cream and high above were the thin feathers
of the cirrus against the high September sky.” “They were
as old as erosions in a fishless desert.” Homoioteleuton also
takes place in the narrative: “I can remember the tail slapping
and banging and the thwart breaking
and the noise of the clubbing. I can remember you
throwing me into the bow where the wet coiled lines
were and feeling the whole boat shiver and the
noise of you clubbing him like chopping
a tree down and the sweet blood smell all over me” (it fulfills
a function of making the situation extremely dynamic). Another popular
trope of Hemingway is a stylistic repetition: “…I was too
timid to ask him. Then I
asked you to ask him and you were
too timid” or “But tonight the smell of the land breeze came
very early and he knew it was too early in his
dream and went on
dreaming to see the white peaks of the Islands rising
from the sea and then he dreamed of the different
harbours and roadsteads of the Canary Islands.” “It
is silly not to hope, he thought. Besides I believe it is a
sin. Do not think about
sin, he thought. There are enough problems now without
among all the tropes used in “The Old Man and the Sea” the
most important rhetoric figure is personification. In this story
you can see this device almost everywhere: the old man’s hands, legs,
head are also the characters of the story and his so-called interlocutors.
important cluster of words presented in the narrative is foreign lexis
– or more exactly Spanish. It is explained by that fact that the events
take place in Cuba, and again Hemingway makes the story more trustworthy.
Here are some examples of Spanish lexis: salao, il/la mar,
que va, agua mala, dentuso, galano, ay, bodega.
last important class of words is special lexis which is somehow
connected with fishing. The aim is the same. Examples: skiff, harpoon,
stern, bait, cast net.
seemingly simple and straightforward - actually unrevealing and difficult.
It could be said that Hemingway atomized description in a way that Picasso,
Marcel Duchamp, and others, in their cubist phases, broke visual perceptions
into perspectival shards”3
people think that Hemingway’s sentences are short and simple, still
such traditional view on the syntax of the writer is to be reconsidered.
In early prose the middle length of the sentence is 15.9 words, but
in later one it is 28,4 lexemes. The first works of the great master
contain many short sentences in author’s narration and in remarks.
The number of long sentences (more than 40 lexemes) pads 10 times. The
second period is also characterized by separate extremely long phrases
(80-100 lexemes), which become some kind of norm. The longest Hemingway’s
sentence consists of 276 words (“To Have or Have not”). As
for “The Old Man and the Sea” there are no such long sentences,
but still I do not think anyone could call this sentence short or having
simple wording: “But the bird was almost out of sight now and nothing
showed on the surface of the water but some patches of yellow, sun-bleached
Sargasso weed and the purple, formalized, iridescent, gelatinous bladder
of a Portuguese man-of-war floating close beside the boat.”
changes the structure of sentences. The most of them become complex.
The rest becomes more complicated by appearing more and more absolute
and participle constructions.
means also fulfill impressive functions. For example at the end of the
narrative, when the heat of the struggle is described the emotional
tension of the old man is expressed through usage of exclamations and
more expressive lexis (“Bad luck to your mother”).
is also considered a master of dialogue. The conversations between his
characters demonstrate not only communication but also its limits. The
way Hemingway’s characters speak is sometimes more important than
what they say, because what they choose to say (or leave unsaid) illuminates
sources of inner conflict. Sometimes characters say only what they think
another character will want to hear. In short, Hemingway captures the
complexity of human interaction through subtlety and implication as
well as direct discourse.
Form and structure.
most novels, “The Old Man and the Sea” has no chapter divisions.
This could be attributed to its relative shortness, but there is another
reason. From beginning to end, we are given a continuous account, almost
a motion picture of Santiago's three-day ordeal. Until the last pages,
there is never a moment when we are not with him. Chapter divisions
or headings would be an unnatural intrusion into this exceptionally
intimate slice of life. We look at the novel from a conventional framework
of time: three days on the sea, with a "day before" and a
are other ways, however, of assigning a time structure to the story.
The days on the sea itself could be divided into
the time before Santiago hooks the marlin,
the battle to bring the marlin in and kill it, and (c) the journey back
to the harbor. The second section could be further divided into the
period wherein the marlin keeps pulling the skiff further out to sea,
and the period wherein the marlin begins to circle the skiff and finally
is brought in and harpooned.
results of researching of the general scopes of the inquiry of artistic
usage of linguistic resources by Hemingway proves that common point
of view which says that Hemingway’s style is stable and homogeneous
is absolutely wrong.
can still call Hemingway’s diction “laconic”, “chary of words”,
and “colloquial”, but it is very important to mention the period
you talk about. Early prose can be determined as:
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