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The Ballad Of Poverty Essay

717 words - 3 pages

Cutoff from the modern world for nearly 31 years, Cuba has become home for many of life’s worst qualities. In the books The Old Man and the Sea, as well as To Have and Have Not, Earnest Hemingway portrays life in Cuba in various disconcerting ways. Through accounts of loss and death, Hemingway creates stories of true disparity in both novels. And it is through poverty, the cornerstone of both The Old Man and the Sea as well as To Have and Have Not, that the lives of numerous Cuban citizens are reduced to an utter hell.
One of the upmost concerning issues presented in To Have and to Have Not is the state of disrepair in Cuba. Though his writing, Hemingway portrays the Cuban people as a hardworking culture, but with roots too deep in poverty to escape it. In order to deal with long periods of starvation, nearly every character in the novel turn to lives of alcoholism. Using what little money they can scrap together, everyone from sailors to business men alike drink to find comfort in the rummy country of Cuba. This is best exemplified through a character named Albert, who works as a local dockhand with the main character - Harry Morgan. One day, as Harry is preparing to leave the dock, he recounts seeing Albert running to him. “ As Albert ran to my boat, he looked drunker than ever, and he also looked hungrier than ever. But how else is a man to survive in this hell” (To Have 98). From this, it becomes quite apparent that even the citizens of Cuba know their unfortunate living situations. However, because poverty is so common within the population of Cuba, it is shown to be socially acceptable to be an alcoholic.
Yet another effect of poverty on Cubans is unlivable housing. This is demonstrated bet in the Old Man and the Sea. Born into a family of previously impoverished people, the main character Santiago spends his entire life in a state of poverty. Working on the docks of Cuba, as with many other Cubans, Santiago is forced to live in a small, tin shack. And, naturally,...

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