Old Man and The Sea
By hanmei, Updated
Hemingway, Ernest Miller. Old Man and The Sea. N.p.: Charles Scribner's Sons, n.d. PDF.
Old Man & The Sea By: Han Mei
Theme: When the going gets tough,the tough get going.
Santiago was a true man's man. Despite being old and going "eighty-four days now without... taking a fish"(1). He did not let his bad luck prevent him from venturing out into the sea and attacking his problems.
Santiago did not have an easy time during his fishing trip, he had gone fought many battles, this one in particular was a double edged sword.The line that aided Santiago in catching the Marlin symbolizes pain and persistence. The old man is known be very stubborn especially in his battle with his deep sea brother. Santiago's stubbornness causes him to start bleeding from the line, but he ignores the pain while muttering, “You’re feeling it now, fish,” he said. “And so, God knows, am I" (15). The old man held onto the rope as if it were a lifeline, enduring cuts and hand cramps along the way. This ultimately allowed Santiago to spear the fish .
"No pain no gain."
Hope,the feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen. It is what the marlin represents in the story, and it is what Santiago loses on his trip home. Sharks had followed the blood trail in the water to Santiago's skiff where they had gorged on the corpse until,"There was nothing left for them to eat"(33). Since the first shark attack, Santiago had fought all of the sharks off in an attempt to save at least a bit of marlin. Each piece of fish the sharks tore off saddened him, but it didn't matter as the old man was going to stab the predators to death regardless.
Manolin is the trusty sidekick of the old man.He represents loyalty,enthusiasm, and the future. The boy was a devoted apprentice that told Santiago that,"we will fish together now for I still have so much more to learn"(35). He was ecstatic that he would learn more of the old man's secrets of fishing even if it meant disobeying his parents. It can be assumed that Santiago does not have much time left due to his old age,so by passing on his knowledge to Manolin who has a life ahead of him, Santiago will effectively transcend death and live on through Manolin.
Santiago in Old Man and The Sea changes throughout the course of the story. During the beginning of his fishing trip, Santiago sees the marlin as nothing more than large fish in the sea due to his desperation to catch something after 84 days. This is further emphasized when the old man utters, “He’ll take it,” the old man said aloud. “God help him to take it”(11). At this point Santiago just wants to catch a fish after his bad luck streak, this fish just happens to be the unlucky prey. Further on in the story after strung along by the fish the old man comes to respect it. He sees it as a worthy opponent but still says,"I’ll kill him though,” he said. “In all his greatness and his glory...Although it is unjust"(18). Santiago begins feeling some guilt in hooking such a strong and noble fish, however regardless of that fact he still carries on holding onto the line. When Santiago finally slays marlin and is heading home after his epic struggle, sharks appear to ruin the day. The carnivores quickly make work of the fish and gorge on the corpse to the point Santiago apologizes,“I shouldn’t have gone out so far, fish,” he said. “Neither for you nor for me. I’m sorry, fish” (31). Now Santiago feels regret for capturing the noble fish and for himself while he continues to defend what remains of the once noble marlin. Santiago gains admiration from his fishing peers in the end, but they do not know the battle of which he fought. With nothing more to show than a skeleton and mangled hands. Though regardless of that fact Santiago is a true man, becoming one in spirit with a great fish of the deep blue and continue to live on for,“A man can be destroyed but not defeated”(29).
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