The Old Man and the Sea


Significant Quotations

1. "The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert. Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated."

From the first description of Santiago, he is presented as an extension of his environment, down to his physical appearance. His skin, which is blotchy and scarred from sun exposure and long use of fishing cords, is described as a "fishless desert," echoing the current dry streak in his career. His eyes are also described as the color of the sea, again showing how seamlessly he fits in with the natural world surrounding him.

Santiago's overall appearance shows a different kind of strength from that of the typical hero: mental and spiritual rather than physical. Although he is described as looking old in almost every way, the fact that he has many healed scars shows how much he has experienced in his career as a fisherman. Likewise, the "cheerful and undefeated" appearance of his young-looking eyes indicates a mental or spiritual strength that allows him to endure poverty and humiliation.

2. "He had no mysticism about turtles although he had gone in turtle boats for many years. He was sorry for them all, even the great trunk backs that were as long as the skiff and weighed a ton. Most people are heartless about turtles because a turtle's heart will beat for hours after he has been cut up and butchered. But the old man thought, I have such a heart too and my feet and hands are like theirs. He ate the white eggs to give himself strength. He ate them all through May to be strong in September and October for the truly big fish. "

It is...

Sign up to continue reading Significant Quotations >

Essays About The Old Man and the Sea