"The Old Man and the Sea"
The Old Man and the Sea is a heroic tale of a man’s strength pitted against
forces that he can’t control. It is a tale about an old Cuban fisherman and his
three-day battle with a giant Marlin. Through the use of three prominent
themes: friendship, bravery, and Christianity. The "Old Man and the Sea"
strives to teach important life lessons to the reader.
One of the most important themes in this story and in life is, friendship. The relationship between the old man and the boy is introduced early in the story. They are unlikely companions; one is old and the other young, yet they
share an insuperable amount of respect and loyalty for each other. Santiago does not treat Manolin as a young boy but rather as an equal. Age is not a
factor in their relationship. Manolin does not even act as a young boy; he is
mature and sensitive to Santiago’s feelings. He even offers to go against his
parent’s wishes and accompany Santiago on his fishing trips. Santiago is
viewed as an outcast in his village because he has not caught any fish for
more than eighty-four days and is therefore "unlucky". Nonetheless, Manolin is loyal to Santiago and even when his parents prohibit him. He still wants to
help his friend. Their conversations are comfortable, like that of two friends
who have known each other for their whole lives. When they speak it is
usually about baseball or fishing, the two things they have most in common. Their favorite team is the Yankees and Santiago never loses faith in them
even when the star player, Joe DiMaggio, is injured with a heel spur. In this
way Santiago not only teaches Manolin about fishing but also about
important characteristics such as faith.
Also another important theme in this story is, bravery. In the story
Santiago’s bravery is unsurpassed but it is not until he hooks the
"great fish" that we truly see his valor and perseverance. Through Santiago’s
actions Hemingway teaches the reader about bravery and perseverance in the
face of adversity. He demonstrates that even when all is lost and seems
hopeless a willful heart and faith will overcome anything. Santiago had lost his "luckiness" and therefore the respect of his village. Through the
description of his cabin we also suspect that Santiago is a widower. Although
Santiago has had many troubles he perseveres. He has faith in Manolin, in
the Yankees, in Joe DiMaggio, and most importantly in himself. This is
perhaps his greatest attribute because without it he would never have had the
strength to persevere and defeat the giant Marlin. Faith is not the only thing
that drives his perseverance. Santiago also draws upon his past victories for
strength. After he hooked the Marlin, he frequently recalled his battle with a
native in what he called "the hand game." It was not just an arm wrestling
victory for him, it was a reminder of his youthful days. His recollections of
this event usually proceeded a favorite dream of his in which he saw many
lions on a peaceful shore. These lions represented him when he was young
and strong and could overcome any challenge. Although he was an old man
and his body was no longer like it used to be his heart was still great and he
eventually defeated the Marlin. Santiago’s perseverance and bravery are
further illustrated when he tries to fight off the sharks. He was a
fisherman all his life and therefore he knew that the fate of his catch was inevitable yet he persisted to fight the sharks. The battle between him and the
sharks was about principles not a mere fish. Santiago was still a great warrior
at heart and warriors fight until the end.
One of the greatest and most obvious symbolism’s in...
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