The Old Man and the Sea: an Annotated Bibliography

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Nick Choi
Ms. Marshall
English 11 Honors
18 January 2013
The Old Man and the Sea: An Annotated Bibiliography
Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea, can be construed as an allusion to the Bible and the struggles of Jesus based on Santiago’s experiences. Baskett, Sam S. "Toward a 'Fifth Dimension' in The Old Man and the Sea." The Centennial Review 19.4 (Fall 1975): 269-286. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Anna Sheets-Nesbitt. Vol. 36. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Jan. 2013. Baskett provides a detailed analysis of the symbolic detail in The Old Man and the Sea ranging from biblical allusions to Santiago’s aura of “strangeness”, which he says contributes to Hemingway’s “fifth dimensional prose”. He lists multiple examples of how Hemingway employs fifth dimensional prose like how Santiago is rarely often referred to as “Santiago” but prevalently more as “the old man” or analyzing the relationship between Santiago and Manolin. Furthermore and more importantly, he begins to describe the biblical allusions found in Hemingway’s novel. A large comparison he makes is between a passage in the bible and the symbolism of the lions in Santiago’s dreams. The passage can be summarized to be about normally antithetical and contradicting creatures that live and play in youth and peace in God’s “holy mountain” like a lion and an ox or a cow and a bear.

The author argues many significant points in his essay. The comparison between the scripture found in the bible is one main resemblance that Baskett makes clear. The relation between the placid and youthful kingdom and Santiago’s dream may be an intentional allusion by Hemingway. In both instances, a peaceful harmony has been materialized out of a situation where fear and discord might have naturally prevailed. Both carry the same theme of peace and harmony in a normally apparent and dangerous situation. While the lions in Santiago’s dreams only youthfully play in the presence of the boy Santiago and his love for Manolin, the lions along with all the other animals all play youthfully with a little child leading them. Although the comparisons are not exact, there is indeed a general resemblance between the two pictures of “a peaceable kingdom”. Flora, Joseph M. "Biblical Allusion in The Old Man and the Sea." Studies in Short Fiction 10.2 (Spring 1973): 143-147. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Anna Sheets-Nesbitt. Vol. 36. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Jan. 2013. Flora argues that The Old Man and the Sea is Hemingway’s “parable of practical Christianity”. She writes about how Hemingway’s novel illustrates the essence of Christian discipleship and does so specifically in biblical terms. She starts with mentioning that Santiago is Spanish for Saint James and that Saint James was one of the 12 disciples, most of whom were fishermen. Additionally, she quotes a story from the bible with a similar situation to Santiago’s in The Old Man in the Sea. The biblical story is about Jesus telling a group of fishermen to let down their nets, even though the fishermen have not been able to catch anything all night. When they set it down, they catch a great number of fish, breaking the net. They asked another ship to come and help but the fish filled both boats so that they began to sink. After their boats sink, the fishermen leave everything behind and follow Jesus. Flora discusses how there is not a one-to-one parallel between this account and the events of The Old Man and the Sea, but how Hemingway was likely to look at the theme of this parable and recreate it in his novel.

This article points out many aspects of The Old Man and the Sea being based off of religious accounts. For example, Flora quotes a story from the bible about Simon, a fisherman, who took as much fish as he could in the net but later resulting in his loss of the fish when he overflows the boats. Similarly, Hemingway’s novel is about an old man...
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