Of White Hairs and Cricket by Rohinton Mistry

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OLDMAN AND THE SEA

Self-check Questions and Answers
1. How many days had Santiago gone without catching fish?
He has gone eighty-four days.
2. What do Manolin’s parents call Santiago? Why?
They call him ‘Salao’ which means ‘the worst form of unlucky’ as Santiago was like this.
3. How do the other fishermen greet him? Why?
They mock him for his fruitless voyages to sea.
4. Which description of Santiago makes the readers question his physical capabilities?
The descriptions of his crude hut, almost non-existent eating habits and thin body makes the readers question his capabilities.
5. What does Manolin offer Santiago?
He offers to return to Santiago after making some money with successful fishermen.
6. What plan did he announce to Manolin?
He announces his plan to go far out in the sea the following day. 7. How was Santiago’s shack?
It was furnished with only a bed, a table and chair. There was a place to cook. On the wall were two pictures, one of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the other of the Virgin Cobre, the patroness.School of Distance Education Reading Fiction Page 20

8. What made Santiago feel lonely? What did he do for that?
The photograph of his wife made him feel lonely. So he threw it down. 9. What was Santiago’s recurring dream about?
It was of lions playing on the white beaches of Africa, a scene he saw from his ship when he was a very young man.
10. How does he consider the sea?
He considers it as a woman whose wild behavior is beyond her control. 11. What objects does he observe while moving away from the shore? He observes flying fish pursued by dolphins, a diving, circling sea bird, Sargasso weed, the purple Portugese man of war, the small fish that swim among the jellyfish like creatures filaments.

12. How did Santiago know that a huge fish was pulling on the line? He saw the projecting stick that marks the top of the hundred fathom line dip sharply.
13. Why cannot Santiago increase the tension on the line?
The line is too taut as the marlin is pulling the line. So it will break and the fish will get away.
14. How does he keep his strength after his hand being cut?
He eats the tuna he caught the day before which he had expected to use as bait.
15. When does he declare that the marlin is great? What does he decide at that time?
The fish leaps into the air and Santiago sees that it is bigger than any he has ever seen. It is two feet longer than the skiff itself.
Santiago decides not to let the fish learn its own strength.School of Distance Education Reading Fiction Page 21
16. What are his thoughts about baseball and other games?
He thinks that the great DiMaggio plays brilliantly even though he had the pain of bone spur in his heel. He wonders if DiMaggio would stay with the marlin. To get more confidence, he recalls the great all-night arm-wrestling match he won as a young man. Having defeated the great Negro Cienfuegos, Santiago earned the title ‘The Champion’.

17. When did Santiago wish that the boy was with him when the marlin repeatedly jumps out of the water?
Santiago is thrown into the bow of the skiff, face down in his dolphin meat. He tries to control the line with his back and hands. Then he wishes that Manolin was with him.
18. When does he feel ‘I do not care who kills who’?
When the marlin begins to circle, riot against the line, battering the boat with its spear, Santiago feels faint and dizzy and sees black spots before his eyes. He thinks that the fish is killing him.

19. What does he feel after killing the marlin?
He thinks about how much money he will be able to make from such a big fish. He also imagines that DiMaggio the famous baseball player would be proud of him.
20. What happens an hour after killing the marlin?
Having smelled the marlin, blood, a mako shark comes. It hits the marlin and eats 50 pounds of its flesh. Santiago sinks the harpoon into its head and takes the weapon along with him.
21. How does he try to cheer himself?
By saying...
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