Hemingway’s Internal Deviation from His Primary Norm in The Old Man and the Sea

  • Trisnowati Tanto English Department, Faculty of Letters, Maranatha Christian University, Surya Sumantri 65, Bandung 40164, West Java
Keywords: style of writing, primary norm, secondary norm, internal deviation, distraction, suspense, foreshadowing


Ernest Hemingway is well known for the use of short and simple sentences when writing his novels since he aims at ‘[getting] the most out of the least’. This sentence-simplicity style is Hemingway’s primary norm. The Old Man and the Sea is the perfect example of this. However, in this novel, he sometimes uses long, complex sentences to describe certain points, and this sentence-complexity style can be said to be Hemingway’s secondary norm. In this case, there is a deviation within Hemingway’s own style of writing – an internal deviation. The deviation is obviously done on purpose as a kind of distraction so as to make the readers aware of the special and important ‘message’ that Hemingway wants to convey. In this novel, the deviation is used to build the elements of suspense and foreshadowing in much detail.


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