The opening lines of The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway are deceptively simple. Hemingway is famous for using few adjectives and adverbs, so when he does employ them, it's usually for good reasons.
The boy's parents tell the boy that the old man is "definitely and finally" unlucky. In other words, they are implying that there is no doubt that he is unlucky and that his bad luck is irreversible. I needed fifteen words to explain that. Hemingway needs three. Two adverbs and a conjunction.
The old man's skiff is "empty" because there are no fish. The sail is "patched with flour sacks" because there is no money for a new one. The sail is "furled" because the day is over. And it looks like the flag of "permanent defeat" because no wind blows in it. In all four cases, the adjective modifies the noun by bringing our attention to what is missing. The adjectives give us an immediate visual cue or emotional dimension, which would otherwise need a lengthy description.
Budding writers are often told to eliminate adjectives and adverbs to achieve a tight and vivid prose. However, skilled writers are able to employ them exactly for that purpose. And there are few writers who do this better than Hemingway. He's in a league of his own.
"He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat."