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The Old Man And The Sea

1150 words - 5 pages

The Old Man and the Sea is a short, but rich novel about an old fisherman who, after eighty-four unsuccessful days in a row, hooks the largest fish of his life. Written by Ernest Hemingway in 1951, and published in 1952, the novel was the last of Hemingway’s novels to be published during his lifetime. The book was praised by critics, and became an immediate success. The story was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and was a factor in Hemingway winning a Nobel Prize. The story was published after Across the River and into the Trees, a Hemingway novel that was almost universally panned by critics. The Old Man and the Sea bolstered Hemingway’s somewhat tarnished reputation, and ...view middle of the document...

For the entire next day the fish and the old man battle each other. Although he feels empathy and respect for the fish, he promises that he will kill it. Finally on the third day at sea, the giant marlin begins to leap out of the water repeatedly, filling its air sacs will air, and making it unable to dive deep down into the water. Santiago finally reels the fish to the side of the boat and harpoons it. Although he has won the battle with the fish, the blood from the harpoon wound inevitably attracts sharks. They come in waves, as the old man tries to fight them off. Little by little, they take the meat of the fish, until Santiago is left with only a carcass. The next morning, people are gathered, looking at the giant skeleton of the fish. The boy goes to the old man’s shack and consoles him, promising to always fish with him regardless of what his parents say. The old man then goes to sleep and dreams of lions.
The Old Man and the Sea is a simple yet powerful tale. Although on the surface it’s about a man and his battle with a huge marlin, the heart of the story is Santiago’s ability to endure. The old man has been enduring a drought of luck. Although he has gone eighty-four days without a fish, he still maintains his same routine of careful preparation each day. The old man takes pride in his craft, and makes sure his equipment and supplies are thoroughly maintained every day. Although the people in town may call him salao, he knows that his skill is more important than luck. He endures his fishless streak with a quiet dignity, being mindful of his craft so that he could not blame himself for being unsuccessful.
The old man also endures many setbacks during the battle with the fish. His hand cramps, and the line cuts his palms open. He is forced to fight the fish for three days by himself, without the assistant of the boy. The fish puts the old man’s body to the test for the entire grueling three days. Although he struggles he remains steadfast the entire time. His pride will not allow him to cut the line and head home.
I think the old man’s struggles in...

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