The Old Man and the Sea: Man Defeated

Topics: Fiction, Short story, Ernest Hemingway, Literature, Writing, Character / Pages: 9 (2101 words) / Published: Oct 9th, 1999
Reading through the novel The Old Man and the Sea one, as a reader, can perceive several themes in the book. Hemingway suggests certain subjects for discussion which built up the whole plot, therefore giving us options to choose the one we believe is the main one. In the past weeks we have been discussing, in a debate, which is that main theme. My group's theme was "Man Defeated" and although it is hard to affirm that this theme was the prevailing one of the book, we firmly defend it. Various arguments were established. Some argued that the novel's theme was Santiago's struggle, the friendship with the fish and other characters; Santiago's perseverance and that he really ended up as a triumphant man. But to argue that those were also the main themes of the book is also a difficult thing to do. Even though Santiago fought and kept on with his struggle to catch the fish, he was defeated because he lost it at the end.

Defeat, according to the Larousse Chambers English Dictionary, is when you are overthrown in a battle, you lose a game and therefore you don't win: you don't gain or reach your goal. As we can see Santiago, in spite of the fact that he persevered and struggled, starving, for three days lost the battle. He couldn't get to his main goal. But , exactly what was his goal, one may ask? He wanted the fish, he was not fishing as a hobby or sport; he planned to sell the fish and get some money to eat, it was his way of surviving. Santiago's only way of income was fishing and he knew that. He mentions: " He was a fish to keep a man all winter."(page 111). Santiago had plans for him already but failed to accomplish them. Some will argue that he won because he gained spiritual victory. This , in a way, is true; but fishing is his job and only way of living. If the case had been different and Santiago was only fishing for his personal entertainment, which wasn't, it could be seen as a new experience or story to tell. But it wasn't. Santiago needed the fish and

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