e. hemingway – the old man and the sea, farewell to the arms


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Ernest Hemingway loved adventure and his passion for deep-sea fishing (pesca d’alto mare) provided the setting (fornì lo sfondo) for The Old Man and the Sea (1952) a short novel written in Cuba in 1951 and published in 1952. It is about a quite old Cuban fisherman (pescatore), Santiago, who has not caught (non prende)a fish for 84 days. His only friend is a boy, Manolin, who helps him despite his ill fortune (a dispetto della sua sfortuna). On the eighty-fifth day, Santiago decides to leave alone and, by noon of the first day, a big fish, a marlin, takes his bait (esca). After three days’ struggle (una lotta di tre giorni) Santiago harpoons it (lo arpiona). The mariner, tired, can’t take it on board (a bordo) and lets it in the water. Unfortunately the sharks (pescicani) come to bite (mordere) the marlin. At home he collapses on his bed, exhausted. The next day a group of fishermen gathers (si raduna) around the boat where the fish’s skeleton (scheletro) is still attached. Some tourists think it is a shark. Manolin looks for From America other new tendencies came to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), born in Chicago, joined a volunteer ambulance unit (si unì come volontario nelle ambulanze) in the Italian army when the United States entered the First World War. After being wounded (ferito) he settled (si stabilì) in Paris, among expatriates such as Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound, and began to write stories. Back in the United States Hemingway became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers and was soon sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution. Hemingway always remained involved (coinvolto) in action, from the Spanish Civil War to the Normandy landings (sbarco), to expeditions of all kinds – safaris, deep-sea fishing (pesca d’alto mare) etc. He was a great sportsman and practised many sports like, hunting (caccia), boxing and fishing which provided the background for some of his works like The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), The Old Man and the Sea (1952). Hemingway was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1954. In 1961 he committed suicide, as had done his father before him. The American author used a straightforward (diretta) prose, with simple sentences, few adjectives and many repetitions; his dialogue were spare (crudi) and he showed a predilection for understatement particularly effective in his short stories – Men Without Women (1927), Winner Take Nothing (1933) and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Hemingway described a world of despair and nothingness where there is no God, no reality beyond (oltre) that of suffering, the only thing that matters (che importa) is to face (affrontare) pain with dignity and self-discipline (autodisciplina) in order to overcome (superare) anguish. The rituals of activities such as bull-fighting (corrida), fishing, big-game hunting can help to control despair.Santiago and finds him safe asleep (salvo e addormentato). When the old man wakes (si sveglia), they promise to fish together once again. Then Santiago falls asleep again and dreams of lions on the African beach. in 1958 a film adapattion was shot (girata) by John Sturges, starring Spencer Tracy.

In 1929 Enrnest Hemingway published an autobiographical novel A FAREWELL TO ARMS. The protagonist is Lieutenant Henry Frederic an American serving with an Italian ambulance unit in World War I. In Gorizia he meets Catherine Barkley, a British nurse whose fiancé was killed in France some months before. During an Austrian bombardment Henry is severely wounded (ferito) and evacuated to the American hospital in Milan. After he is operated Catherine takes care of him (si prende cura di lui). They fall in love with each other and when he’s healed (curato) she is pregnant (aspetta un bambino). Henry returns to his unit in time to be involved (coinvolto) in the great retreat (ritirata) of Caporetto (1917). While he is marching with two companions, he is arrested as deserter (disertore) but succeed in escapeing execution (condanna a morte) by jumping into a river. He looks for Catherine and finds her in Stresa. They run away to Switzerland in a rowing boat (barca a remi). But in a hospital of Lausanne Catherine dies together with her baby. The novel shows how senseless (senza senso) and destructive war is and the futility and precariety of life. The story is apparently told Hemingway without emotions, but below his immediate, realistic and anti-rhetorical style the reader perceives a deep participation. In 1943 Fernanda Pivano illegally translated the novel into Italian: the Fascist government considered it offensive for Italy, and , as a consequence, she was arrested in Turin. The most popular film adapatations were directed by Franz Borzage in 1932 and by Charles Vidor in 1957.

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