Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea to show how you can push through the hardest of times and still not be defeated. The story shows how an old fisherman overcame an unlucky slump with the support from a young boy that loved and helped Santiago named Manolin. Santiago fought through the discrimination of the other old fisherman and refused to give up. Through Santiago’s struggles when trying to catch the great marlin, he kept pursuing his goal. Through sweat and tears Santiago never gives up before accomplishing his goal. He endured the pain of slicing his hands on the fishing line many of times in return to pull up the biggest fish he had ever landed.
In the end Santiago had the obstacle of beating away multiple sharks while they sunk their teeth into Santiago’s goal. This shows that Hemingway uses symbolism to convey the idea that one must overcome obstacles before accomplishing their goals.
During Old Man and the Sea, Santiago not only has to put up a fight with the marlin but sharks as well. Awhile after Santiago had reeled in the marlin, sharks start to trace the blood trail it had left behind. As the sharks got closer to his boat, Santiago grabs for his harpoon. He tries to beat him away but was not successful. "The shark's head was out of water and his back was coming out and the old man could hear the noise of skin and flesh ripping on the big fish when he rammed the harpoon down onto the shark's head" (Hemingway 102). He easily killed the first shark and watched him sink down under the water. Santiago noticed that the shark had taken forty pounds of flesh from the marlin and ripped off most of its side. Santiago was disappointed and no longer wanted to look at the fish; "when the fish had been hit it was as though he himself were hit" (Hemingway 103). He started to feel sympathy for the fish and began to regret having caught the marlin at all, wishing that he had been dreaming. Santiago states that “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Soon Santiago wonders if killing the fish was a sin. He believed that he killed the marlin for a good cause, which was to feed himself and many others. He claimed that if killing the marlin was a sin then everything was a sin.
Two hours later, two sharks arrive at the skiff. After losing his harpoon to the other shark, Santiago fastens his knife to the end of the oar and now uses this against the sharks. He kills the first shark easily, but while he does this, the other shark is ripping at the marlin underneath the boat. After some struggle, he kills this shark as well.
Santiago apologizes to the marlin for the mutilation he had to suffer. He admits, "I shouldn't have gone out so far, fish. I am sorry, fish" (Hemingway 110). Tired and losing hope, Santiago sits and waits for the next shark. The old man succeeds in killing the fish but breaks his knife blade. More sharks appear at sunset and Santiago only has a club with him to beat them away. He does not kill the sharks, but...