Old Man and the Sea

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In life, one will go through a number of stages in life. Infancy, Youth , Adulthood, and

Old Age are all key stages. As one grows, they mature through these various stages. When one

reaches old age, there is often a lot of doubt surrounding their lives. Serenity, and independence

are often the two most questioned. These are some questions that Santiago has to ask himself as


In the novel The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway develops the concept of

man coming to the realization that as he ages, his dependency on others will increase. The use of

metaphor is key in showing how this is indeed true. The struggle with the Tiburon represents the

mental struggle that Santiago is having with himself. The Tiburon is also used as a metaphor for

Santiago's life. The boy in the story parallels what Santiago's life once was.

The struggle with the Tiburon represents the struggle that Santiago is having with himself.

The constant struggle makes Santiago realize that he is no longer as young as he thinks he is and

he must rely on the help of others. This is shown when Santiago is battling the Tiburon.

" ‘Bad news for you fish', he said and shifted the line over the sacks

that covered his shoulders. He was comfortable, but suffering,

although he did not admit to the suffering at all. ‘ I am not

religious...but I will say Ten Hail Marys that I should catch this

fish'... ‘Hail Mary full of Grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art

thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour

of death, Amen.' Then he added. ‘ Blessed Virgin, pray for the

death of this fish, wonderful as he is.' "

[ Hemingway 64-65]

This quote shows that the old man is forced to break the rules of sanity and talks to

himself as well as the fish which cannot hear him. The old man thinks to himself that the fish is a "

" God fearing " fish and by saying the Hail Mary, the fish will give in and let himself be caught.

After saying the Hail Mary the Old Man tries to convince himself that his previously hurt hand is

okay, when really it is not.

In another part of the story Santiago admits that he is losing his sanity. "He did not want

to look at the fish. He knew that half of him had been destroyed " [Hemingway 114]. This

shows that Santiago is now relating himself tot he fish. While fighting off the sharks, he thinks to

himself that if he had the use of both his hands along with perfect health, he would have been able

to fight off the sharks.

These quotes show that Santiago is not as young as he thinks he is. This is shown by the

gradual deterioration of his sanity. Santiago must come to the realization that he needs the help

of others.

The Tiburon is also used as a vehicle for Santiago's final days as well. The Tiburon is

used as a metaphor for Santiago's life. The struggle he has with the Tiburon parallels growing up

poor in Cuba. This is shown when Santiago first struggles with the fish. " ‘He can't have gone,'

he said. ‘ Christ knows that he can't have gone. He's making a turn. Maybe he has been hooked

before and he remembers something of it. ' " [Hemingway 42] This shows that Santiago is

depending on the capture of this fish as a means of survival. Santiago knows from experience that

the size of this fish will benefit him a tremendous amount financially. He prays that the fish is not

lost. If the fish is lost that means that Santiago would spend another night poor.

The catching of the Tiburon equals the completion of Santiago's life. As much fight as the

Tiburon had before he allowed Santiago to catch him is the same as Santiago knowing that his

struggle to survive by...
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