Foreign words in E. Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea: semantics, functions, frequency

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Foreign words in E. Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea: semantics functions frequency


The paper is devoted to Ernest Hemingway’s story The Old Man and the Sea. It discusses vital problems of the characters as well as foreign words in the novella.

It consists of the introduction 3 chapters the conclusion and the list of literature used.

The first chapter is devoted to Ernest Hemingway and his last life-time publication The Old Man and the Sea which brought him the Nobel Prize. The second chapter focuses on borrowings in English and the historical process of their entering the language. Chapter 3 touches the foreign words in the novella The Old Man and the Sea and their division into semantic groups.

The list of works used in the preparation of this paper consists of 16 entries. Theoretical sources constitute 1 reference sources – 6 the researched text – 114 pages.

1. Earnest Hemingway and his novella "The old man and the sea"

Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American novelist short-story writer and journalist. Many of his stories reflect his rich life experiences as a war correspondent outdoor sportsman and bullfight enthusiast. His writing style is simple yet vivid and his characters embody the idea of «grace under pressure.» His works are regarded as classics in the canon of American literature as essayist Joan Didion Poet Derek Walcott Poet Russell Banks say. [16]. Some have even been made into motion pictures.

Hemingway was born in the quiet town of Oak Park Illinois a suburb of Chicago on July 21 1899. His father was a physician and Ernest was the second of six children born to Dr. and Mrs. Clarence E. Hemingway. His mother a devout religious woman with considerable music talent hoped that her son would develop an interest in music. Instead Ernest acquired his father’s enthusiasm for guns and for fishing trips in the north woods of Michigan.

Earnest was educated at Oak Park High School. After graduating in 1917 he became a reporter for the Kansas City Star but he left his job within a few months to serve as a volunteer ambulance driver in Italy during World War I. He later transferred to the Italian infantry and was severely wounded.

After the war he served as a correspondent for the Toronto Star and then settled in Paris. While there he was encouraged in creative work by the American expatriate writers Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. After 1927 Hemingway spent long periods of time in Key West Florida and in Spain and Africa. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) he returned to Spain as a newspaper correspondent. In World War II (1939–1945) he again was a correspondent and later was a reporter for the United States First Army. Although he was not a soldier he participated in several battles. After the war Hemingway settled near Havana Cuba and in 1958 he moved to Ketchum Idaho.

Hemingway drew heavily on his experiences as an avid fisherman hunter and bullfight enthusiast in his writing. His adventurous life brought him close to death several times: in the Spanish Civil War when shells burst inside his hotel room; in World War II when he was struck by a taxi during a blackout and in 1954 when his airplane crashed in Africa. He led a turbulent social life and was married four times [16].

The Old Man and the Sea led to numerous accolades for Hemingway including the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He also earned the Award of Merit Medal for the Novel from the American Academy of Letters that same year. Most prestigiously the Nobel Prize in Literature came in 1954 «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.» He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. In 1961 at age 61 he committed suicide as his father did before him [10].

While Hemingway was living in Cuba beginning in 1940 with his third wife Martha Gellhorn one of his favorite pastimes was to sail and fish in his boat named The Pilar. General biographical consensus holds that the model for Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea was at least in part the Cuban fisherman Gregorio Fuentes [8]. Hemingway hired him to look after his boat. During Hemingway's Cuban years a strong friendship formed between Hemingway and Fuentes. For almost thirty years Fuentes served as the captain of The Pilar. Fuentes died in 2002 when he was 104 years old. Prior to his death he donated Hemingway's Pilar to the Cuban government. He never read The Old Man and the Sea.

A great deal has been written about Ernest Hemingway’s distinctive style as Journalist Jim Wolf Journalist Steve Paul Writer James Nigel Novelist Annie Proulx say [7]. From almost the beginning of his writing career in the 1920’s he has been the subject of lavish praise and sometimes savage criticism. Critic Harry Levin pointed out the weakness of syntax and diction in Hemingway’s writing but was quick to praise his ability to convey action [9].

To explain Hemingway’s style in a few paragraphs in such a manner as to satisfy those who have read his articles and books is almost impossible. It is a simple style straightforward modest and somewhat plain. Hemingway does not give way to lengthy geographical and psychological description. His style has been said to lack substance because he avoids direct statements and descriptions of emotion [3]. He developed a forceful prose style characterized by simple sentences and few adverbs or adjectives. He wrote concise vivid dialogue and exact description of places and things. He relates a story in the form of straight journalism but because he is a master of transmitting emotion without embellishing it the story is even more enjoyable [10].

When The Old Man and the Sea was published in 1952 it was a popular success. The novella first appeared as part of the September 1 1952 edition of Life magazine. 5.3 million copies of that issue were sold within two days. The story won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953. A year later Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Old Man and the Sea is generally considered by many to be his crowning achievement as The Nobel Prize Committee and Journalist Susan F. Beegel say [7]. It was the last major work of fiction to be produced by Hemingway and published in his lifetime. The work was especially praised for its depiction of a new dimension to the typical Hemingway hero less macho and more respectful of life. In Santiago Hemingway had finally achieved a character who could face the human condition and survive without cynically dismissing it or dying while attempting to better it. In Santiago’s relationship with the world and those around him Hemingway had discovered a way to proclaim the power of love in a wider and deeper way than in his previous works [2].

It is a heroic tale of man’s strength pitted against forces he cannot control. It is a tale about an old Cuban fisherman and his three-day battle with a giant marlin. The fisherman Santiago goes out and fights nature in the form of terrible forces and dangerous creatures among them a marlin sharks and hunger.

He starts the story in a small skiff and moves out in a journey to capture a fish after a long losing streak of eighty-four days. Unfortunately his friend a young boy called

Manolin was not allowed by his parents to fish with Santiago anymore. Santiago is viewed as an outcast in his village. Yet the boy feels an irresistible amount of respect and loyalty for the old fisherman. Even Santiago doesn’t think of the boy as a child but as an equal. Age is not a factor in their relationship. Manolin does not even act as a young boy. He is mature and sensitive to Santiago’s feelings.

Manolin is present only in the beginning and at the end of The Old Man and the Sea but his presence is important because Manolin’s devotion to Santiago highlights Santiago’s value as a person and as a fisherman. Manolin demonstrates his love for Santiago openly. He makes sure that the old man has food blankets and can rest without being bothered. Despite Hemingway’s insistence that his characters were a real old man and a real boy Manolin’s purity and dedication elevate him to the level of a symbolic character. Manolin’s actions are not tainted by the confusion ambivalence or willfulness that typify adolescence. Instead he is a companion who feels nothing but love and devotion. He even offers to go against his parents’ wishes and accompany Santiago on his fishing trips. In the story we can see Manolin’s loyalty to Santiago: even when his parents forbid him he wants to help his friend.

Hemingway hints at the boy’s resentment for his father whose wishes Manolin obeys by abandoning the old man after forty days without catching a fish. This fact helps to establish the boy as a real human being as a person with conflicting loyalties who faces difficult decisions. By the end of the book however the boy abandons his duty to his father swearing that he will sail with the old man regardless of the consequences. He stands in the novella’s final pages as a symbol of uncompromising love and fidelity. As the old man’s apprentice he also represents life that will ensure death. His dedication to learning from the old man ensures that Santiago will live on.

In the novel Santiago is a master craftsman. He depends on himself only. While the other fishermen use motorboats Santiago uses his skiff. While the other men have many workers and helpers to hold several lines Santiago has three lines all operated by his own hand. He is an expert. He goes much farther out than the other fishermen and casts bait in much deeper water because he knows the waters and the movements of the fish. Although he is taking a greater risk by going out deeper he has a better chance of catching the bigger fish.

Another thing that makes Santiago a master craftsman is his experience. He has been a fisherman all his life. Therefore he has had much time to master this art. Though many fishermen might doubt him he is great. He has skill and he applies it in order to succeed. He uses his hands and he uses his instincts to master the art of being a fisherman. Santiago uses himself his physical and mental strength to catch the fish and by doing these things his difficult task becomes easier. He is a master craftsman not only through his skill but also through his determination [4].

Although he has gone 84 days without catching a fish he does not give up: «Tomorrow is going to be a good day with this current » Santiago said. (9)*

Santiago's age does not mean anything to him. He believes that he can do anything he wants. He is very strong physically and mentally. He does not believe that he is getting old and it's time for him to relax as many old people believe. Santiago goes out to fish every day as he used to do when he was a young man.

He exposes himself to dangers by going out much farther and casting bait in deeper waters. He goes out on his 85th day with hope that he will catch a fish. This is what keeps him going. He knows that he still has the ability and strength to be a good fisherman. He never gives up: «How do you feel fish? I feel good and my left hand is better and I have food for a night and a day. Pull the boat fish.» (65)

All through the book Santiago dreams of the same thing his pleasant dreams of the lions. The first time is the night before he departs on his three-day fishing expedition the second occurs when he sleeps on the boat for a few hours in the middle of his struggle with the marlin and the third takes place at the very end of the book.

In fact the sober promise of the triumph and regeneration with which the novella closes is supported by the final image of the lions. Because Santiago associates the lions with his youth the dream suggests the circular nature of life. Additionally because

Santiago imagines the lions fierce predators playing his dream suggests harmony between the opposing forces of nature – life and death love and hate destruction and regeneration.

When Santiago finally catches the marlin he is proud of himself. He looks forward to showing the boy and the other fishermen that he is still strong. But he couldn’t imagine what was going to happen. Unable to tie the line fast to the boat for fear the fish would snap a taut line the old man bears the strain of the line with his shoulders back and hands ready to give slack should the marlin make a run. The fish pulls the boat all through the day through the night through another day and through another night. It swims steadily northwest until at last it tires and swims east with the current. The entire time Santiago endures constant pain from the fishing line. Whenever the fish lunges leaps or makes a dash for freedom the cord cuts him badly. His whole body aches he’s tired and hungry but he doesn’t let go of the line. This shows his determination to win the battle and the fish. Although wounded and weary the old man feels a deep empathy and admiration for the marlin his brother in suffering strength and resolve.

Magnificent and glorious the marlin symbolizes the ideal opponent. In a world in which everything kills everything else in some way Santiago feels genuinely lucky to find himself matched against a creature that brings out the best in him: his strength and courage his love and respect.

While Santiago struggles with the fish he also prays. He prays to God to give him strength to defeat the mighty fish: «Now that I have him coming so beautifully God help me endure. I’ll say a hundred Our Fathers and a hundred Hail Marys. But I cannot say them now.» (78)

But faith is not the only thing that drives his perseverance.

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