You have asked me, Lucilius, why, if a Providence rules the world, it still happens that many evils befall good men.
Determined and stubborn, Santiago refuses give up on fishing or his dreams of catching something so big it will change his life, he continues to fish every day with the help of his apprentice, Manolin, and one day, Santiago challenges himself by sailing further out on to the sea than any other fisherman.
For three days Santiago holds on to the fishing line, even though it hurts him badly: Santiago uses the physical pain as an adrenalin rush, as it proves that he is a worthy fisherman. Santiago generates a connection with the marlin, who like Santiago, is in physical agony.
Santiago has like most people hopes and dreams, which is shown in the novel through his interior discussions with himself, for an example when he talks of his favorite baseball player, Joe DiMaggio, while he is holding on to the fishing line. Come on and kill me. This hints to Hemingway himself, as it was to believe, that he was a naturalistic author.
Being a naturalistic author assumes that the individual character have a direct influence in the movement of their lives, either by focusing on nature or fate. That way, human beings and nature are entwined in a circular system, where death is necessary in order to foster new lives.
Hemingway looks upon manhood as to be a man is to act with honor and pride, a man cannot be consumed by suffering, but most important, a man has to display a maximum of self-control.
The marlin represents the masculinity of the story, as the marlin is described as a beautiful, great, calm and noble fish. According to Hemingway, Santiago shows the reader how to live as a hero, but in a benefitting way.
Santiago identifies with Christ during the course of his struggle. An example could be when Santiago returns to shore after the shark attack, he carries the mast on his shoulder, just like Christ was forced to carry his own crucifix.
Importantly, Santiago resembles Christ, as he turns tragedy into triumph and faces the inevitability of death, just like Christ did.
The way Santiago enjoys the lions who are very dangerous predators, also reflects his relationship to the marlin, whom he comes to cares for but whose death he also feel is necessary in order to survive. At the end of the novel, when Santiago goes to bed and dreams of the lions, it could suggest that triumphing over the marlin, he has undergone his own revival.
The sharks symbolize the destructive parts of nature, but going back to the biblical imagery, they could also symbolize the people of Jerusalem who led to the crucifixion of Jesus. That is why it is a story that will continue to live on as powerful work of art within the literary world, something that people in many ways can relate to.
How to cite this page Choose cite format:“The Old Man and the Sea,” by Ernest Hemingway, all-time American author, is written in , and tells the story of an epic and internal struggle between an old fisherman and the greatest fight for his life: the catch of the enormous marlin.
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