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Literary Precedents for The Old Man and the Sea

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Literary Precedents

If the reader accepts the apparent critical consensus, there are very few literary precedents for The Old Man and the Sea. Moby Dick (1851), another great sea-centered novel involving a quest for a great creature, is sometimes cited as a precedent, but the resemblances are superficial. Others have noted the Biblical qualities of Hemingway's story. Also, for the evocation of the sea and the human place in the design of nature, Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat" (1898) provides a certain resonance, and we know that Hemingway admired Crane's work. Perhaps more directly to the point would be precedents which involve characters of great simplicity and dignity who interact reverently with nature. The most compelling instance here — and Hemingway may well have had it in mind when he wrote The Old Man and the Sea — may be William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses (1942). In particular, consider the portions of that...

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This section contains 215 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Old Man and the Sea Study Guide
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The Old Man and the Sea from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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