Literary Essay - the Old Man a

Topics: The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway, Fishing Pages: 2 (569 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Literary Essay
The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway ties together a story about a fisherman trying to catch a fish and a deeper story about a man attempting to prove to society that he is not useless. This novella is an example of Man’s struggle to maintain dignity in the face of adversity. The old fisherman (Santiago) could have easily given up against the giant 18 foot marlin, but he could not stand going home one more day being looked at as an aging failure by his friend and the other fishermen in the village.

Ernest Hemingway relates this novella to himself and his life. Throughout this story, the old man cannot accept the fact that he is getting old and that he is slowly losing his strength. Hemingway in reality was having the same problems. He was getting old, and things he once did, he no longer could do. Just as Hemingway could not accept that fact, neither could his character, Santiago. Santiago was having some inner conflict while trying to catch the marlin. On several occasions, Santiago would try to talk himself out of his pain; "I must hold his pain where it is, he thought. Mine does not matter. I can control mine. But his pain will drive him mad." This pain Santiago was enduring was part of his struggle to maintain some dignity. Most importantly, Santiago (and Hemingway) could not give up.
When Santiago finally catches the Marlin, he is proud of himself. He is looking forward to showing the boy and the other fishermen that he is still strong. When the sharks attack the fish, it is the same as the Sharks attacking his dignity. This is mostly why an elderly man, armed only with crude weapons would fight many Sharks. As the Sharks tear apart the marlin bit by bit, it is as they are tearing apart his dignity bit by bit. That is why Santiago could not stand to look at the grisly remains of the marlin. Everything he worked for, everything he gambled his life for, everything he...
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