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Analysis Of Hemingway's The Old Man And The Sea This Paper Uses An Anthropological Prospective. It's A Good Paper ... My Teacher Was A Low Grader!

3824 words - 15 pages

Transition, Ritual and Rites of Passage in Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea The term threshold evokes images of entering and departing, crossing and changing. It marks the point at which choices and decisions must be made in order to proceed. In this paper I intend to investigate the symbolic meaning of threshold as a position of growth for the characters in the novel The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, and for them to successfully complete the rite of passage. A number of anthropological studies conducted by Arnold Van Gennep, Victor Turner and Edmund Burke's model of the sublime, have provided insight into the rite of passage; that is constructed of separation, threshold and incorporation. The motif of the rite of passage serves as a description of characters that face considerable changes in their lives. I will also demonstrate how the threshold provides insight into the character's actions and conflicts faced . Hemingway's novel provides a point of investigation through anthropological interpretation because it show great concerns to the questions of identity, personal growth and liberation from social restrictions. Anthropological theorist Van Gennep argues that the passage or change is a complex process. Van Gennep investigated the changes in the lives and status of people, culture and religion or the related events connected to change. Van Gennep distinguishes between three different types of change in the life of a person: separation, transition and incorporation. Van Gennep shows special interest in the transitional stage, just as Hemingway does with Santiago. In this period Santiago is in between his former and future social position. Threshold can be interpreted as a symbol of division, which determines the socially structured notion of self and other. This is the point of passage, which stands for change: one can step over the threshold; enter a new life without remnants of past experiences. The rite of passage forms an important theme in the novel. The old fisherman protagonist, Santiago, who lives in Cuba, experiences his old age as a life crisis "...he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish" (9), This difficult period reflects his unwillingness to be treated as an unsuccessful fisherman. Santiago is in the middle of a transition between two life stages, old age and the passing into death, but it seems that the completion of this transition is impeded by three forces: the powerful omnipresence of his hero the great Joe DiMaggio, women and society. These influences affect the forming of his identity. Santiago wants to identify with DiMaggio, but he feels that he is inferior to him. According to Burhan's article, DiMaggio is a constant inspiration to Santiago, both men go through separate trials and tribulations in order to prove their ability (451). Santiago also wants to form a bond with women and society but he feels he has distanced himself a great deal "I may not be as strong...

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