Old Man At The Bridge by Ernest Hemingway

Summary: In Old Man At The Bridge by Ernest Hemingway, a soldier during a war is helping to escort out the local population to keep them safe. The soldier is at a bridge and notices an old man that is not moving. The soldier tries to talk with the man to get him to move on after a rest, but the old man is unable to and must be left behind.


Soldier : A soldier of war trying to get the local population to safety

Old Man at the bridge : Old man that is too tired to move on

Section One:

  • The soldier notices the old man not moving; he tries to talk to him to get him
  • The old man was taking care of a cat, two goats , and four pairs of pigeons
  • The old man has no family except the animals
  • The old man hasn't any political side
  • The old man says the cat will be fine because cats can take care of themselves, the pigeons will be ok because they can fly, but it is better not to think of the goats
  • The old man can not continue on, he is too tired; The old man says "I was only taking care of animals" implying he did not want the trouble brought to him
  • The soldier says there is nothing to do about the old man when the old man cannot continue on

Other Notes:

  • The soldier tries to talk to the old man in attempts to encourage him to continue on because the war front is coming fast
  • The soldier tries to use family to encourage the old man to continue, but the old man has none; he tries to tell the old man the animals will be fine but the old man says the goats will most likely not be fine
  • The old man is thinking of the animals because they were his to take care of; the animals could symbolize the victims of war that never wanted to be involved; the old man seems decided to watch death come to him and has given up on trying to continue on.

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