LM-1487 Comparative Literature
Prof. Ileana Molina E.
14 November 2008
Commonalities between The Old Man and The Sea and Un Viejo Que Leía Novelas De Amor
When analyzing Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and Luis Sepúlveda’s Un Viejo Que Leía Novelas De Amor from a comparative perspective, it is almost impossible to ignore the relevance of thenatural phenomena and human reactions to them, the recurrent situations, and the constructions of a male identity in both protagonists. Hemingway’s novel published in 1952 deals with the adventure of Santiago, the “Old Man”, and his journey in the Atlantic ocean trying to defeat his bad luck as a fisherman. On the other hand, Sepúlveda’s text narrates the story of Antonio José Bolivar Proaño, an oldman who lives alone in the forests of the Ecuador. These two novels are developed in two Latin American countries, Cuba, and Ecuador. However, the fact that Hemingway is not a Latin American as Sepúlveda is produces a certain variation in the narration. The language is an aspect that plays a relevant role in these two novels. The Old Man and the Sea is written in English but narrates Santiago’sstory in a Spanish speaking country. This Fact definitely affects the whole narration. The implementation of a simple language and style is a proper characteristic of Hemingway, but in this novel this two aspects are notorious probably to ease the understanding of the text. On the other hand, Un Viejo Que Leía Novelas De Amor is written in Spanish. Then, the narration of this novel is not as simple asHemingway’s. Writing in his mother tongue allows Sepúlveda to create amazing descriptions and to implement a poetic language. Then, language is a fundamental aspect of these two novels which definitely affects the pretended effect in the audience.
One of the most remarkable aspects of these two texts to compare is the natural phenomena and human reaction to them. Focusing on the ocean and thejungle, the reader is able to perceive how the protagonists react to those two supreme forces of nature. In The Old Man and the Sea, the ocean portrays the notion of the sublime. The idea of spiritual mystery and infinity are also attached to their powerful force. Keeping in mind that the great majority of the novel takes place in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Cuban costs, the reader observes howSantiago responds to the mysteries and infinity of the ocean. There is a complete sense of adaptation when Santiago is fishing. His experience as a fisherman has given him the wisdom to decode almost all the puzzles of the sea. Santiago knows the language of the sea, and thus, he is able to interact with it. Santiago respects the sea and is aware of its powers, but he is not afraid of it. He knowshow to foreseen any change in the ocean, and he is aware of the hazards that being a fisherman implies. Then, the protagonist’s reaction to the natural phenomena reflects the idea of respect and consciousness, but also, it portrays the sense of harmony between nature and human being. Similarly, in Un Viejo Que Leía Novelas De Amor, the relationship between nature and human is a significant aspectof the novel. In this case, the forest is the representation of natural phenomena. Some ideas such as meditation and spiritual elevation are related to the forest. Moreover, the forest is frequently associated with the human mind. Thus, a journey into the forest can be seen for some critics as an internal struggle. As Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea, Antonio José is a master in decoding themysteries and troubles of the jungle. His old age has provided him with wisdom to be able to read the unpredictable book of the forest. This protagonist is in harmony with nature, and he knows the importance of keeping a balance between the expanding civilization and the conservation of the forest. Similarly to Hemingway’s text, this novel illustrates the concept of the sublime regarding the...