"Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA, March 1997

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This part of the story has to do with Santiago against nature and

the sea. In this part of the story, he goes out and fights nature in

the form of terrible forces and dangerous creatures, among them, a

marlin, sharks and hunger. He starts the story in a small skiff and

moves out in a journey to capture a fish after a long losing streak of

eighty-four days. Unfortunately his friend must desert him due to this

problem and a greater force, his parents. Santiago must go out into the

danger alone. For three harsh days and nights he fights a fish of

enormous power. This is the second form of nature he must conquer.

Earlier in the story, the first part of nature is himself, for which he

must fight off his hunger. This is a harsh part of the story. He

manages though to get a few bites in the form of flying fish and

dolphin of which he would like to have salt on.

This part of the

story tells of a cold and harsh sea, that is, one that has value and

mystery as well as death and danger. It has commercial value as well as

the population of life in it. It is dark and treacherous though, and

every day there is a challenge. A similar story tells about a tidal

pool with life called `Cannery Road'.

This part of the story has to deal with figures of Christ. It

mainly deals with Santiago as being a figure of Christ and other

characters as props, that is, characters which carry out the form of

biblical themes. On the day before he leaves when he wakes up, Manolin,

his helper, comes to his aid with food and drink. Also a point that

might be good is that he has had bad luck with his goal for a great

period of time and is sure it will work this time. Later, though, when

Santiago needs him for the quest he sets out to do, Manolin deserts

him, although he may not have wanted to at this time. In the novel

Santiago comes upon a force bigger than his skiff, the marlin which

misleads him out far past his intended reach. This is where he starts

to lose his strength against something which seems a greater force.

Santiago has a struggle of three days, which is significent because

of the three days in Easter, and continues to fight on though his goal

may not aquire anything. This is another idea through which Christ did,

a struggle to get a goal done even though it may mean certain

destruction to himself. This might accomplish nothing but the

satisfaction of doing this and also has great risks. Finally he comes

upon a painful experience with his hand which is in great pain and

won't move. This is useful in the place where Christ loses his physical

self and has less to deal with. On the third day, he recovers himself

and returns to his home even though his only remaining treasure was a

broken skiff, experience, and a torn up marlin. And in the final

conclusion, you can see him dragging the mast of his skiff, a

cross-like object, in his hand. This story has a certain sequence of

events, first it has a hunter vs. his prey. This hunter does respect th

e prey. Throughout the book it has this series of events: encounter,

battle, defeat, and respect for the prey. This is Hemmingway's `Code of


This part of the novel has to do with relationships between two

characters. The first to discuss are Santiago and Manolin, Manolin

being the small follower of the old man named Santiago. Manolin is a

small person that follows Santiago and listens to his wisdom. They

treat each other unfriendly though for Manolin calls the Santiago 'old

man' and he calls Manolin `boy' which seems to be absurd. In that

situation I would consider both of them to go see a doctor. The next

relationship to talk about would be that between Santiago and the

village, which seems to be much better. He is given credit for food and

he also is waiting to show his greatness to the villageby catching a

great fish as soon as he can. His thought on that, though, is that any

fisherman can ctach it during the easy season but only a few can go out

and catch one during the hard season. He has no consideration for the

luck, and would rather try to fish through being exact rather than

being lucky. The other relationship in this story has to do with

Manolin and his parents. Manolin seems to be very rebellious against

his parents, although he does submit to their demands. Santiago's

greatest link to the village is the boy. Santiago may be poor in the

story, yet is proud.

This story when compared to being imaginative is good, but in

real life is somewhat of a `Fish Story'. The part where an old man

being able to load in a ton of fish is very unimaginable. The scenario,

though, is very interesting for the part of the old man. He goes out

all alone into the depths of the ocean without an idea for what is in

store. This story has good points, for when it comes to the better

parts of the story, it emphasizes by placing in mind step by step of

the way he does certain actions. The part of the story which, to the

best of my belief, had no part or reference in the story was the dream

of lions on a beach of Africa, which this fisherman probably had never

even visited much less seeing lions on a beach. This was like most

stories in the main plot. First characters are introduced, then a

threat reveals itself, showing true natures of all the characters, and

finally the threat is fought off or it remains, leaving the reader

in suspense. This had a good plot but needed more to go on in my


Hemingway's strong parts of this story are emphasized on

vocabulary. He probably learned these fisherman terms for he once was a

fisherman in Cuba. There is one problem to this, though. Throughout the

story he uses these terms over and over although the ordinary person,

like me, would forget them after the first use of them and

unfortunately he doesn't ever re-coin the terms again throughout the

book. Some vocabulary he uses stands for sharks or the sea itself.

Others he uses for bait. The main idea though in this part is to let

the reader get the feel for the life, setting and character of the

fisherman himself. This is a great move to place yet is also very hard

to co-exist with the average reader. This has some good points, though,

and among them is review. The reader must review the story and skim it

in order to rethink the concept of the word. Then he or she must return

to the current position in the book and place it into the text. The

concept of vocabulary is a standard not to live by, and should not be

placed into most books unless the terms are to be used many times

throughout the book.

Hemingway has merged three themes already mentioned above

successfully unto this book. Among them are figures of Christ, Nature

(the sea), and a code of honor. This was challenging. The obvious ones

were nature, it's cruelty and compassion. Nature caused his hand pain

yet healed it, caused hunger yet satisfied it, and gave the fish yet

reclaimed it. This is the way nature works. Nature is actually more

luck than a set of rules, for it can shift back and forth with the

greatest of ease. The second theme, religion, could not be easily

pulled from the text. The best clue to where it happens is the falls of

Santiago as well as his carrying the mast. This symbolizes the end of

Christ, although Santiago on the other hand is just retiring for the

night. But it could be interpreted as the end of the book for which it

is. The code of honor is not actually probably the hardest to

interpret. It can only be pulled from context, which is the hardest to

do. It has mainly to do with the rise, battle and fall of the prey and

respect following. The problem in this is that Santiago was at fault

for expanding out so far, and it was dangerous. This is similiar to the

book A Journey to the Center of the Earth, which I recently read.