full title ·
The Old Man and the Sea
author · Ernest Hemingway
type of work · Novella
genre · Parable; tragedy
language · English
time and place written ·
date of first publication ·
publisher · Scribner’s
narrator · The novella is narrated by an
point of view · Sometimes the narrator
describes the characters and
events objectively, that is, as they would appear to an outside
observer. However, the narrator frequently provides details about Santiago’s
inner thoughts and dreams.
tone · Despite the narrator’s journalistic,
tone, his reverence for Santiago and his struggle is apparent. The
text affirms its hero to a degree unusual even for Hemingway.
tense · Past
setting (time) · Late 1940s
setting (place) · A small fishing village
near Havana, Cuba; the waters
of the Gulf of Mexico
protagonist · Santiago
major conflict · For three days, Santiago
struggles against the greatest
fish of his long career.
rising action · After eighty-four
successive days without catching
a fish, Santiago promises his former assistant, Manolin, that he will
go "far out” into the ocean. The marlin takes the bait, but Santiago is
unable to reel him in, which leads to a three-day struggle between
the fisherman and the fish.
climax · The marlin circles the skiff while
reels him in. Santiago nearly passes out from exhaustion but gathers
enough strength to harpoon the marlin through the heart, causing
him to lurch in an almost sexual climax of vitality before dying.
falling action · Santiago sails back to
shore with the marlin tied to
his boat. Sharks follow the marlin’s trail of blood and destroy
it. Santiago arrives home toting only the fish’s skeletal carcass.
The village fishermen respect their formerly ridiculed peer, and
Manolin pledges to return to fishing with Santiago. Santiago falls
into a deep sleep and dreams of lions.
themes · The honor in struggle, defeat, and
death; pride as
the source of greatness and determination
motifs · Crucifixion imagery; life from
death; the lions on
symbols · The marlin; the shovel-nosed
foreshadowing · Santiago’s insistence that
he will sail out farther
than ever before foreshadows his destruction; because the marlin
is linked to Santiago, the marlin’s death foreshadows Santiago’s
own destruction by the sharks.
The Old Man
and the Sea is a book for everyone to sort out life problems, to find out what
a man is born for, to make it clear that people are indivisible from nature.
The story has got so many vital aspects that it is almost impossible to discuss
all of them at once. Each of us can find something in the plot and in the idea
that is to one’s liking. One of the most outstanding messages of the book is
that we mustn’t give up notwithstanding any hardships or difficulties. This
idea is justified through the image of an old fisherman fated to give himself a
days without taking a fish – this is what pushes old Santiago to make sure he is still a capable
fisherman. He is not desperate, he doesn’t seek for anyone’s help – now he is
determined that this time he is going out to the open sea not only to have the
bait rotten. His attitude to nature is really noteworthy declaring itself
through the dialogs with the gigantic fish he’s taken. "Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead
before this day ends”. This is an evidence of Santiago’s holistic view on things. His
attitude to natural objects and phenomena could be put as "Respect and Subdue”.
Though Santiago seems to be very close to nature,
the main character’s isolation from other people stands out a mile. "Many of the fishermen made fun of the old
man and he was not angry. Others, of the older fishermen, looked at him and
were sad.” How painful it might be for him to realize he can no more enjoy
universal esteem. But this is also a story about human confidence – unalterable
resolve to go on living, staunch belief in one’s abilities and strength.
From the beginning of
the story we see Santiago – an old fishman. He was thin and gaunt, with the
brown blotches of the skin cancer, his hands had the deep-creased scars, and
none of them were fresh. So we understand that he is devoted to his work, but
he is too old to discharge his duties. But his eyes were not old, they were
cheerful and undefeated, confident and loving, and had the same colour as the
sea. We see that the only person Santiago communicated with is Manolin. Manolin
was with the old man from the very childhood, he learned how to fish and
moreover how to leave. He was very devoted and thankful to his teacher. Although
his parents forbad him to go with Santiago in the sea, he tried to help him
with other ways. Now Manolin was better fishman than Santiago, but he loved
him, he said that he needed deeper knowledge, but I think that he only wanted
to be with him. Manolin brought him coffee, bought him baits, worried about
him, looked after him and protected from everyone. But the most important detail
is that he believed in him, he agreed that Santiago was born for fishing. He saw
how, in spite of all his failures, old man continued battle with the sea. But
Santiago decided to go to the sea alone, he believed, that he still could fish
and the sea would help him. He didn’t want anyone else to help him, because it
would be an acceptance of his old age, of his loss. He had doubts that he would
catch a big fish, but he was also full of resolution, he prayed, he perceived
the sea as a friend, he asked it for help, he was thankful to everything, sorry
for the birds that always flying and looking and always never finding. And it gave
him force to continue live, achieving his goal. And when the fish was hooked by
him, he was unworried, he understood that it would be difficult to take it out
alone and he thought of the small boy, Africa, his youth, and these memories
gave him hope, that he could overcome all the difficulties. So, although sharks
ate his catch, he won.
character is an old man Santiago?
Who is absolutely poor. He tried to catch a fish that would be the biggest in
the world but he wouldn't lucky in it. Every day Santiago fished alone and to my mind it was
because everybody thought that he wouldn't ever catch anything. In the first
forty days a little boy fished with Santiago. But then his parents didn’t allow it. Santiago was born in Africa
and spent his childhood there. African nature would be in his memory forever
and he always recollected his past in Africa.
one hand we see the main character weak, but on the other hand he is very
strong. Of course, he is old, helpless and that makes us feel pity for him. But Santiago is
very strong inside. He had a dream and he has done everything to make his dream
come true. Eighty-four days without any extraction will make any person uninterested
in what he/she doing. That proves that usual fisherman Santiago is a very strong person.