Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea

Earnest Hemingway

Earnest Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. He started his career has a writer in a newspaper office Kansas at the age of 17. He jointed a volunteer ambulance unit in the Italian army after the United States entered First World War. After his return to the US he became a reporter for the Canadian and American Newspaper. During the twenties, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris. Hemingway used his experience as a reporter during Civil War in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).” Among his later works, the most outstanding is the short novella, “The Old Man and the Sea (1952)”.

Hemingway - himself a great sportsman - liked to portray soldiers, hunters, bullfighters - tough, at times primitive people whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal ways of modern society, and who in this confrontation lose hope and faith. His straightforward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories.

The Novella

The Novella “The Old Man and the Sea” is based on an Old Man and the biggest fish that he has ever caught. Santiago is an Old Fisher man from Cuba. The Old Man’s young friend Manolin is very devoted to the Old man. The old man hasn’t caught anything for eighty-four days. The boy helped the old man for the first forty days, but the boy’s parent tells the boy to take a more prosperous boat to fish and to leave the old man. The boy’s parents tell the boy that the old man has become Salao. But the boy continues to care for the old man every night on his return. The boy brings food for the old man and discusses the latest baseballs scores.

On the eighty-fifth day the Old man decides to go “out too far” and is confident that his unproductive streak will come to an end. So Santiago takes his skiff far from the shallow coastal water into the Gulf Streams. The Old man the throws his lines into the water and by noon his bait is caught by a Marlin, the old man hooks the Marlin, but the old man cannot pull in the Marlin and instead the boat is pulled by the Marlin. The boat is pulled for two days by the fish. Santiago is badly cut but the fish line. In spite of his cuts, the old man feels a deep empathy and administration for the Marlin.

On the third day, the fish gets tired and the old man is able to bring the fish close enough to kill it. He brings it onto his boat and sets for sail home. As the Santiago sails home with the marlin, the marlin leaves a trail of blood in the water which attracts sharks. In the first hark attack the old man loses his harpoon due to the struggle. He manages to kill many sharks but more sharks keep coming. So by night the Marlin is given to the shark, leaving only the head, skeleton and tail. Santiago punishes himself for going out to far and for sacrificing his great catch. He comes home before daybreak and falls into deep sleep.

A lot of fisherman are amazed to see the carcass of the fish and a lot of tourist mistaken it for a shark. The boy has been worried sick about the old man is moved to tears when he sees the old man lying safe in bed. The boy fetches the daily newspaper with the baseball scores and some coffee for the old man.


In this Novella the Author and the Narrator are not the same. Authors are the one who writes the book and Narrator’s are the ones who read the story or a character who tells the story within the book. The voice of the Narrator could be in the first person, second person or third person. In this case the Author of the Novel is Earnest Hemingway and the Narrator of the book is the one who reads it.



Santiago goes through a hard time at sea. He hasn’t caught a fish in eighty-four days, the other fisher men laugh at him but the old fisher men feel bad for him. Then has he goes “out to far” at sea, he is able to catch a marlin but unfortunately the marlin is eaten up by sharks. But the old man changes after his great defeat. Santiago’s existence has almost come to an end but readers believe that Santiago will continue to exist through Manolin. Santiago was like a teacher to Manolin. Manolin will make use of all that he has learnt from the old man.

The Old Man was very determining to change his luck. So he decides to go “out to far” where no fisherman has gone, to catch a fish. After he catches a Marlin that has been eaten by the Sharks, Santiago claims that he along with his marlin has been destroyed. But Santiago gets the respect of the other fishermen after they see the Carcass of the Marlin. They are amazed by the size of the marlin and some tourist mistaken it for a shark. He also gains more love and the companion of the boy. As long has he has the boy by his side, he is sure that he will never have to go through so much trouble again.

Heming way believes that it is either defeat or continuity of hardship until death. Santiago chose the continuity of hardship during is eighty-fifth day. The old man held the line for three days; his palms were cut by the line which caused him cramps and pain in his back. He could have easily let the marlin go, but he chose not to. This shows his determination to catch the fish. He also began a conversation with the fish. In the end the Old man catches the fish, which proves he was able to fight hard. The Old Man was a worthy fisherman. Santiago is compared to Christ, his suffering lead him to a spiritual triumph.


Manolin relationship with the Old Man goes on for about the first 12 to 13 pages of the Novella. This shows a strong bond between the Old Man and the Boy. The boy was very fond of the Old Man and had a lot of love for the Old Man. Manolin cared for the Old Ma. He saw that the Old Man had food, was kept warm enough and even saw that he had enough rest. The character of the boy was very symbolic. He is a trusty companion to the old man. When the boy’s father tells him to catch another boat and fish and says that the Old man is now Salao, the boy obeys’s his father but still goes to check on the Old Man once he returns from his fishing. This shows the boy conflicted with loyalties and have has to face difficult decisions. After the Old Man returns after his battle at the sea, the boy decides to sail with the Old Man and becomes his companion till the end. The boy is as a symbol of uncompromised love and fidelity.


The setting is on the Sea. It goes back in 1940s. The story is based on a fisher man from Cuba. Santiago is a fisherman and is from a small village Cuba. Cuba is an Island in the Caribbean and the capital of Cuba is Havana. The village’s name is Kojimar and the language spoken is Spanish. Warm water’s run through the Gulf Stream which brings the Giant Marlin in the month of September and October close to the village.

Do I Like The Story??? Why???

Yes I do like the Story. The Old Man never gave up until he caught a fish. He was very determining to catch a fish, even if he went far into sea to get one. When he caught the fish, he held on to the line for three days, the lines cut his palm, he was in pain but he did not let go till he actually got the fish. He did not mind what the villagers said to him. After he caught the marlin, the fishermen were amazed by his catch.

The story teaches me never to give up in life and to fight and achieve what I want, even if it meant going an extra mile. There are hardships that are going to come my way and I have to learn to fight those hardships and overcome those hardships. Quitting isn’t the answer and quitting isn’t going to get me anywhere. If I want something I have to work hard to get it, it is not going to be easy. In life nothing is easy, in time it is we who become strong and is able to fight the hardship and achieve what we want. Hardships will always be there.

In the end, the Old Man caught a fish and it wasn’t an easy catch. He had to go through a lot of pain and battle a lot of sharks.

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