The Old Man and the Sea is the story of an epic struggle between an old man and a big fish. However, the book evokes further associations. Although the basis for the novel is fishing, it is predominantly about strong will of a man. The main idea (“Man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”) represents the real essence of the work. Hemingway’s main character is old and weak, but still able to do heroic deeds.
The main character of the story is the old Cuban fisherman Santiago. Although he is very old and his face and body show the signs of aging, inside he is young and alive that is reflected in his eyes and his dreams about lions. He is a perfectionist when it comes to fishing. In spite of his precise methods, he has no luck at the sea. He wants to be unique, a greater and stranger person than his peers out at sea. His only company is his disciple called Manolin that adores Santiago, apart of his parents. They want him to join up with a more lucrative boat. In spite of all their reservations, he takes good care of Santiago and he tries to encourage the old man to make sure his ego is never wounded.
Santiago has gone 84 days without catching a fish. He is convinced that he is just going through an unlucky time, but his luck will change. Determined to catch one big fish and feeling confident about his fishing, he takes his skiff out much further into the sea than usual. Santiago ventures far into the Gulf Stream. He notices the creatures around him and is familiar with their company. Santiago has a special relationship with the sea and its creatures. He thinks of the sea as a human entity.
A fish pulls on one of Santiago’s lines. Santiago as the knowledgeable and experienced fisherman recognizes the fish to be a giant Marlin. He expertly hooks the fish, but cannot pull it in. Instead, the fish begins to pull the boat. He is unable to simply tie the line boat, because the fish might break the line, so he holds the fish fast by himself. Santiago sustains various wounds on his body. His hand begins to cramp from all of the tension of the line. Although he admires the fish, he is determined to kill it. To give himself confidence, he recalls his belief that he can overcome everyone, if he wants victory badly enough. Santiago has to remind himself to keep his head clear and suffer like a man. Finally, on the third day he manages to pull Marlin close enough to his boat for him to thrust a harpoon in his body.
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Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea
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