Theme and message

The main theme of the short story “The Old Man at the Bridge” by Ernest Hemingway is the tragedy of war. The author’s intention is to illustrate the way wars disrupt the lives of innocent people who are caught up in the middle, but also the way it frustrates those who cannot do anything about it (0bservers and foreigners).

The tragedy of war

Although the story is very short, Ernest Hemingway manages to illustrate in a skillful manner the tragedy of war. Set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, the story presents the interactions between a scout (the narrator) who is probably a foreigner, and a local old man, forced to leave his town in the face of an impending attack.

The way the narrator presents the old man and the setting, as an observer who cannot do anything to influence the course of the war or help...

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