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A Summary Of The Symbolism In "The Old Man And The Sea" By Ernest Hemingway

1646 words - 7 pages

Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Many novels have two layers of meaning: the first is in the literal plot, while the second is in a symbolic layer in which images and objects represent abstract ideas and feelings. Using symbols usually allows authors to express themselves indirectly on delicate or controversial matters. According to the definition from the Oxford Advanced Learner's English-Chinese Dictionary, symbolism means the use of symbols to represent things; esp. in art and literature. One famous example of symbolism is the letter 'A' in The Scarlet Letter (1850) by American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the novel, the character Hester Prynne wears a scarlet-colored A on her dress to symbolize adultery, of which she was found guilty by judges in her community. Generally speaking, symbolism plays an important role in the development of the novel; this narrative technique is used to give significance to certain people or object.Hemingway's work "The Old Man and the Sea" is notable for its use of symbolism; the novel revolves around two major symbols: the old man and the sea. Besides that, some other objects that are described in the novel also have their symbolic meanings, such as Manolin, the marlin, the shark, the lion, etc. The Old Man and the Sea is a novel of much symbolic and the thesis of this article is the analysis of various usage of symbolism in the novel.1. Different symbolic meanings of the old man:1.1 The old man Santiago stands for the indestructible spirit of human beings.In the novel, the old man, living in very poor conditions, is strong for his age and has a lot of scars; and his hometown is a little fishing village in Cuba. However, he still firmly holds the belief that every moment in life is worth to live and that every day gives you new chances. "Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready" (Hemingway 24). The most important thing for Santiago is to bring home the big fish even when it's only a skeleton, which shows that he is a hopeful fighter and he keeps up unremittingly during the whole fight. "Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated" (Hemingway 2). There is a prevalent saying that the heart's letter is read in the eyes and here Santiago shows us his determination and revolt against the fate through his blue and clear eyes. He has wide and keen eagerness and activities which still keep him effective, he would not think about the merely statistical fact of the number of years he has already lived, that is to say although he is getting older and older in age, he keeps young and energetic in his heart due to his firm determination and belief. Though he has gone to fish for 84 days without catching a fish and has become the laughingstock of his small village, and his only best friend Manolin is forbidden by...

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