The old man at the bridge″ Ernest Hemingway.’’
The story of the “old man at the bridge” was inspired by Ernest Hemingway about the Spanish world war in the 1930s. Many people are left homeless while others are left worried forgetting their tradition. The experiment of war leads to displacement and confusion making people forget about the ways of life due to the change of environment.
The author declares that war leads to fear and isolation. During the war, the troops were forced to go and combat with the Fascist who wanted to take the region. Therefore, in the story as the war proceeds, the author detects some groups of people moving across the river. As the author observes a magnitude of people and vehicles fleeing across the bridge, he notices an old man sited at the bridge from an anticipated attack of the enemy (Zaidi & Ali Shehzad). The people were moving due to fear of being killed and absence of hope that they had begun. Most of the people were isolated from their families and belongings as the old man remains a single representative for many in the society who undergoes the same situations in life. The other group decides to flee and move away from the land to settle somewhere and in the same manner had lost some of the crucial opportunities for their families and properties. The active is sure to move and begins a new life while the weak and old as the old man is left to die helplessly. According to the author, the creator of fear and hopelessness is war. The old man becomes a significant victim of circumstance.
During the war, many people in the society become a victim of circumstances especially the weak and vulnerable as the old man. According to the story, the old man was the last to leave the village as the other had started long time ago. The old man has just walked more than 12 kilometers from the village to run from the atrocities of the war (Grebstein & Sheldon). Therefore, as a result of this, he becomes tired and decides to rest at the bridge together with the animals and the pet he had come along with from the village. It was a surprise that the old man was the only one who was left to take care of the goods and properties. This indicates the author’s opinion that war is not a respecter of age or life but affects every person in the society. The war did not spare the old man from the rest of the people but instead become a significant victim of circumstance. He tries to find out the response and opinion of the fate of his animals from the soldier during their conversation. The old man is determined to find ways of taking care of the animals even though he has nothing left to offer as protection for the animals since he was old and tired.
The story also deals with the theme of depression, resignation, and the impending death. The old man at the bridge takes the heroic fatalist of the war through a resigned nature of his fate as a casualty of the war happening in the area. The old man is too old and tired to move any further kilometers apart from the other which he had walked. The emergence of the war has displaced him from the resting place since he had never been disturbed as this in his life. The old man says, and the author reflects that he is sure to be killed once the fascist approach the bridge across the Ebro. The author states that the life of the old man is prolonged because the Fascist’s plane took much time to be launched and come over for the attack. The author says that nothing could be done for the old man due to the fact his death is inevitable and sure. However, despite that, the old man had to conceal facts of taking care of the animals and pets as well. The author indicates that war takes away life through various means other than the actual killings but through even death that comes from frustration. The experience of people is robbed due to the frustration that comes with war and perhaps leading to an advanced shock that is uncertain of cure. The author displays a constant disappointment that war brings to the society and feels sorry for vulnerable people like the old people (Dick & Christopher).
The old man at the bridge is one of the stories that were written by Ernest Hemmingway. The existence of war in the Village makes the villages to migrate and move to other places as the fascist prepares to attack. The old man tired after walking through 12 kilometers was tired and rest at the bridge as the others continue with the journey. The author displays the aftermath of war such as displacement and death. The old man has no option to do than to take care of the animals which he cannot perform.
Dick, Christopher. “Drama as Metaphor in Ernest Hemingway’s TODAY IS FRIDAY.” The Explicator 69.4 (2011): 198-202.
Grebstein, Sheldon Norman. “Hemingway’s Humor.” Readings on Ernest Hemingway: 162-169.
Hemingway, Ernest, and L. Penhall. Old man at the bridge. Royal Society for the Blind of South Australia., 2002.
Zaidi, Ali Shehzad. “The Camouflage of the Sacred in Hemingway’s Short Fiction.” Theory in Action 7.2 (2014): 104.