Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki and Hemingway’s Return to Primitivism in The Old Man and the Sea
Parallel reading of both texts, suggesting that Hemingway’s return to primitivism in The Old Man and the Sea may have been influenced by the immense popularity of Heyerdahl’s 1948 narrative. Examines similarities in subject matter, arguing that the “back to nature” philosophy of both texts appealed to a modern generation overwhelmed by advancements in technology. Asserts that their simplistic escape from civilization via the sea provides the heroes with a comforting sense of self-reliance and solitude. And yet their detailed environmental observations reveal not only their intimacy with the natural world but also their deep understanding of how that natural world might serve to measure man’s progress away from nature’s violence.