The Centrality of “War” in Ernest Hemingway’s “Old Man at the Bridge”

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i.o Cross cultural studies The Centrality of “War” in Ernest Hemingway’s “Old Man At The Bridge” Earnest Hemingway is one of the finest writers of the early twentieth century. His seemingly simple and realistic style SOMETIMES makes the meaning of the story not immediately evident. At first encounter his short stories seem like an exchange of dialogues with very few explanations. However, there are many hidden meanings and symbols that demand the active involvement of the reader to really grasp the message of Hemingway. “Old Man at the Bridge” is one of the works that completely illustrate genuine meanings disguised in apparent simplicity. Thus, it is necessary to investigate the main theme conveyed in this short story and its internal signification. The most predominant and prevailing theme in this short story is the brutal impact of the war on neutral innocents. In fact, the old man OF THE TITLE is a refugee from the village of San Carlos where he used to have some animals. Due to his plight, he sees the bridge as a dead end for him: “I am seventy six years old. I have come twelve kilometers now and I think now I can go no further.”(2) The war has affected his state of mind and destroyed the love of life in him. Through this character Hemingway is actually making an example of the old man WITH the aim of describing the effects of war on the state of mind of innocent civilians. Neither his tired body nor his confused mind seems capable of grasping or coping with the sudden collapse of his entire world. By the end of the short story, the narrator, who is a soldier in this war, , reports to the reader that the old man “got to his feet, swayed from side to side and then sat down backwards in the dust.”(3) This description is very telling because it reflects the inevitability of death when it comes to war. This is why the old man was unable to cross the

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