The Old Man And The Sea

The Old Man and the Sea The Old Man and the Sea The book The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, is about an old man, Santiago, and his genuine fondness of the sea. Every day he travels out to sea to go fishing which is his occupation. For the past eighty-four days the old man has not caught a single fish. On the eighty-fifth day he sails out to sea as usual, and this is the day that changes Santiagos life forever. He hooks an unusually immense marlin, and they have an agonizing battle for several days. Hemingway often compares Santiago with the younger fisherman and describes various particular parts about the beautiful sea.

This allows the reader to learn that Santiago especially loves the sea and is unlike the other fisherman. While Santiago is going out to sea on the first morning, Hemingway includes numerous details about the setting. Some of the details are to inform the reader that the old man really enjoys and values the ocean. One way which Hemingway shows this is that Santiago refers to the sea as “la mar,” a kind and beautiful yet sometimes cruel feminine creature. Younger fishermen refer to the sea as “el mar,” which is masculine. Changing this to be masculine means that they do not feel that the sea has any beauty or significance other than for money. Another way that the author tells that the old man appreciates the ocean is in one of his descriptions in the book.

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“Most people are heartless about turtles because a turtles heart will beat for hours after it has been cut up and butchered. But the old man thought, I have such a heart too and my feet and hands are like theirs.” Since Santiago has spent so many years of his life at sea he sees the beauty of the sea and the beauty of its creatures. This is also noted in another quotation from the book, “The iridescent bubbles were beautiful. But they were the falsest thing in the sea and the old man loved to see the big sea turtles eating them.” Santiago finds pleasure about everything in the sea, even after going a disappointing eighty-four days without a fish. All of these are examples of how much the old man appreciates the sea.

Other details Hemingway uses are to show Santiagos loneliness. He creates an image that the ocean is practically the old mans home. While out at sea, Santiago often wishes that he would have brought the young boy, Manolin, along. Manolin is the only person who loves and adores Santiago, and he looks up to him as a father figure. Although, it might have been best if Manolin went along to assist Santiago on these arduous few days of battling the marlin. Therefore, Santiago is all alone, but he finds that the sea makes him content and at home. The old man has fished for all of his life, which shows that he has appreciation for the sea.

The next statement shows his loneliness yet passion for the sea, “He watched his lines to see them go straight down out of sight into the water and he was happy to see so much plankton because it meant fish. The strange light the sun made in the water, now that the sun was higher, meant good weather and so did the shape of the clouds.” Since Santiago is alone, he finds comfort in all the creatures of the sea. Hemingways descriptions allow the reader to feel and imagine everything Santiago goes through. The author gives the reader a feeling that danger is nearby when he writes, “The sea was very dark and the light made prisms in the water.” By foreshadowing, the reader realizes that a dangerous event is soon to occur. There are also various additional quotations in the book telling of Santiagos predicaments. This includes one about the sun which hurt his eyes very much in the mornings.

All of these descriptions allow the reader to feel precisely what the old man felt. In turn, the reader begins to pity him, and it enhances the book considerably. Hemingways descriptions add significant details to the book, The Old Man and the Sea. They show that Santiago treasures the sea, his solitude, and add to the readers appreciation for the book. In addition, they add feeling, make the book more realistic, and improve the overall quality of this tragic yet triumphant story.

The Old Man and the Sea

“A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”(114). This is the essence, and a major theme of Hemingways novel, The Old Man and the Sea. The story revolves around one old man, and his struggle with the Gulf. The old mans name is Santiago, he was once a master of the sea, but in his old age has become subject to its whims. This story of man versus nature shows that it is not the end result of what you have done, but it is the way you go about your task. This is what Santiago means in the above quote, the result of his undergoing may become destroyed, but he was not defeated. What he did was still done, and he completed his task with honor.

Santiago is a fisherman, but he has not caught a fish for eighty-four days, and on the eighty-fifth day, he goes out on the Gulf farther than he has ever gone before. Santiago knows the sea as well as he knows himself. He talks about the sea in a very loving way, “But the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favors, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them.” (33). When Santiago has hooked the marlin, it becomes a battle between the two to see who will be defeated. Santiago ends up killing the marlin. But he knows he did not defeat the fish, it was only his human advantages that let him catch the marlin. Santiago admires the fish and he thinks of him as an equal. “we sail like brothers. Then his head started to become a little unclear and he thought , is he bringing me in or am I bringing him in?But they were sailing together lashed side by side and the old man thought, let him bring me in if it pleases him. I am only better than him through trickery and he meant me no harm.”(110) Santiago destroyed the fish, his life was ended. But the fish kept his dignity and was still thought of by Santiago as a hero. The marlin was never defeated, he was gallant in his fight, but was outsmarted by human advantages. Against that no animal has a chance.

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After Santiago has caught the marlin he realizes that a large part of his motivation was pride. The thought of going home and having everyone praise him and not think of him as just “the old man” anymore, pulls him through the hardships. He keeps coming back to the image of Joe Dimaggio. He inspires Santiago because Dimaggio is able to do his best even with his painful handicap. Santiago often thinks how proud Joe Dimaggio would be of him if he could see what he had done, this also helps him overcome his obstacles. But he knows that to destroy one of his brothers for pride is not ethical , and he could not get away with such a offense. Nature must keep a balance, and the sea would retaliate to Santiagos prideful killing. The catching of the marlin was a double edged sword, the marlin could give him many rewards, but the pride it took for him to catch it makes a deep cut in his victory. The marlins blood attracted the sharks , and the sharks removed the proof of Santiagos expedition. So Santiago returned to his home with nothing but the skeleton to show for his efforts. Santiago felt guilty for killing this magnificent animal out of pride and so says to himself, “I shouldnt have gone out so far, fish. Neither for you or me . Im sorry fish.”(121). Once Santiago is home, he is able to sleep in peace because he has been cleansed of his pride. Nature took back his trophy, but did not defeat him. The valor of his accomplishment is still in existence even though the fruits of his labors have been destroyed. Nature let him keep part of his trophy and bystanders admire the effort it would take to catch an animal with such a magnificent skeleton.
At home ,the town, with the exception of Manolin, views Santiago as an old defeated man who was once strong. Everything about Santiagos life, shows him as a defeated old man, “The sail was patched with flour sacks, and furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.”(9). The sail on his ship may seem defeated, but it has the most experience and is stronger because of its experience. Santiago is much like the sail on his ship. Both appear to be defeated and worthless, but both have much worth left in them. Destruction means loss or death, but defeat has a very different meaning. Defeat has more of a moral implication and is when you have not even yourself left. Santiago is very poor and his youth and success have long been destroyed. He had nothing left but his dignity and pride, ” He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility. But he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of true pride.”(14). But Santiago is not defeated, he has hopes and dreams and the strength to catch a marlin. Santiago lives under the rest of the towns loving condescension, but it does not matter to him because he still has himself. Manolin loves Santiago and takes very good care of the old man. Once Santiago is back and has recovered, Manolin asks him to impart his vast knowledge of the sea to him. Manolin knows that Santiago is not defeated by the ruin of his conquest, he is made stronger by persevering through the challenge.
In all areas of his life the things Santiago has accomplished are not recognized. At home no one realizes the power of his wisdom and his experiences. On the sea, his efforts are made fruitless by nature. But even though it looks as if he has been defeated by his life, he is not. He is stronger and wiser because of the things he has endured. ” They beat me, Manolin. He said. They truly beat me. He didnt beat you. Not the fish. No. Truly it was afterwards.”(136) Santiago tries to tell Manolin that he was defeated by the fish, but Manolin explains that he was not defeated, he still accomplished his task. And therefore he is not only not defeated, he is a stronger and better man. This book is a wonderful example of how even when man is beaten by nature, and he is beaten by society, he is never defeated. As long as he has himself he can never be defeated.


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