The short story Old Man at the Bridge by Ernest Hemingway wholly demonstrates the vicious repercussions of war on disinterested innocents. The short story, narrated by a nameless soldier, sensitively portrays the sorry plight of the refugees who are displaced by war.
The action takes places at a pontoon bridge near the Ebro Delta on an Easter Sunday during the Spanish Civil War. All the refugees of that area were crossing the bridge to protect themselves from the impending attack by the enemy troops. The young soldier was on a mission to cross the bridge and find out how far the enemy had advanced.
After the soldier had scanned the region for any sign of the enemy troops, he noticed an old man still sitting at the pontoon bridge. The seventy-six-year-old man wore black dusty clothes and his face was dusty grey. He wore steel-rimmed spectacles which suggested that he was neither a shepherd nor a herdsman. He appeared weak and exhausted. The soldier asked the old man where he came from. The old man replied that he was from Sans Carlos. He had already walked about 12 kilometres from his hometown, San Carlos, and was weary and exhausted. Therefore, even after the soldier had advised him to flee, the old man did not move.
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