Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea to prove he wasn’t finished as a writer . The Old Man and the Sea had been in Hemingway's mind for years. The old man is an old man … The sharks are all sharks no better and no worse. The Old Man and a Drink Apic/Getty ImagesHemingway was a known and respected author beforehand, but The Old Man and the Sea elevated his reputation to the literary giant we think of today. Even Ernest Hemingway’s literary rival, William Faulkner, liked The Old Man and the Sea.