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“Old Man and the Sea” Story Review

Updated April 25, 2022
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“Old Man and the Sea” Story Review essay

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The story the old man and the sea is a classic fictional story wrote by the great American author Ernest Hemingway. The story is not only about the old man struggles with fishing but is a metaphorical representation of life. If you think about the way that Hemingway gave the details of this mans trials and tribulations and ultimate success, you can see how it can be a mirror representation of life. The reason I say this is because towards the end of the story when the main character of the story Santiago catches the fish and he is on his way back he is thinking about how everyone that is going to be enjoying the meat that this massive fish will give aren’t worth of the food that they are going to be eating, it’s like when someone comes up with a great idea and invention they some people think that people can’t handle the power that some inventions with bring to just normal everyday people just like Santiago thought about the meat of his monster catch. It could also be said that the sharks are a metaphor for the people who try to steal the great ideas of other people because as he fights off the sharks that are surrounding his boat and his catch as he is heading back home.

They were relentlessly coming no matter the amount he stopped, and this is a beautiful representation of how the world works and how people who steal other individuals’ ideas do, if you have an idea that people see are great and can make them huge amounts of money then they will do whatever they have to, so they can get some money off of your idea. Another way you can look at the books is through the eyes of the old man, like for instance what if the book isn’t about the old man fishing at all, what if the reason Manolin the old man’s fishing partner is so worried about him isn’t because of the fact that he is old and still enjoying fishing but it is because he is becoming more and more frail as the days pass, and he is seeing that with each passing failing day that the old man is losing the strength to go on. That is why he is so upset when he has to leave the old mans fishing boat. He could be seeing that he is the only thing that is keeping Santiago sane because if your livelihood depends on the catch and you are having an eighty-four day drought then that’s eighty-four days without the ability to pay for food, water, your boat or other things of that nature. Something that really caught my interest was the way that the Manolin kept up with baseball scores because he knew that the old mans ideal was as it says in Hemingway’s book, “the great DiMaggio” the reason the old man keeps up with this iconic baseball player is because of the fact that his father was a fisherman just like the old man is, I think that the old man feels connected to Joe DiMaggio in a sense because of this.

As I was saying though is what if this story is showing how you have to basically tango with death as you get older, just like the old man did when he was fighting his fish. He knew that there were times when he had to give some slack and let up, he also had the right mind to know when to respect the fish that he was fighting. Any fisherman will tell you that it doesn’t matter how big the fish is or how prized the catch might be its about the fight you get, nothing is more fun and more exhilarating or rewarding for that matter than the fight you receive. The other theme I have gathered from reading this book is that the old man had a dedication to his livelihood, no matter how tough or how long the drought that he was going through was he never gave up or gave in a joined another boat to fish he did it on his own with the help of Manolin.

Then when Manolin left he stuck with his boat and declared he was going to go further out to sea than he usually does. This shows the character of Santiago and the heart of this old fisherman, he doesn’t just give in when it gets hard he keeps his head up and his eyes on the horizon and goes further out to sea than he normally does in hopes of catching his fish. When he does get the fish on the line and it starts pulling his boat, he could’ve easily just dropped the line and let the fish go but the dedication that he had to prove that he was as Manolin called him “the greatest fisherman ever.” While he is fighting the fish, he thinks of a time when he caught one of a pair of marlins and the one that he didn’t catch stayed by the boat as if it was mourning the loss of its companion. As the old man fights the fish it pulls his boat all through out the night, into the next day. The only thing he had keeping him going was the dedication to land this fish the book even states that, “Santiago can do nothing but hold on. He pledges his love and respect for the fish but nevertheless pledges to kill his opponent before the day ends.” Keep in mind he is an aged-Cuban man, he isn’t a young man who is still in his youth. He is determined and driven by the dedication of the catch to bring this fish in, because it is the fact that he has lost everything besides his life, his boat and, his house. He hasn’t caught a fish in eighty-four days and has also had Manolin a boy that has been helping him fish since Manolin was only 5 years old because he hasn’t been able to bring anything into his boat. You can see the dedication this man has not only to his fishing but to life in general because he doesn’t back down when things start getting tough, nay he continues to persevere and that leads him to catch a monster of a marlin.

Another theme from the book that I really caught on to was the passion that he has for Manolin, because even though everyone else said that he was an unlucky fisherman and joked about him Manolin never gave up hope on this old man. If anything, Manolin was the driving force behind the passion this man had to prove everyone wrong. Santiago even though he was in the middle of a fight with a fish that was destroying his body, because the line was cutting his hands and arms, as well as the fact that he was having to hold on to this line and couldn’t let it go to tie it to the boat because it would’ve been to tight and could’ve snapped. The fact he supported the weight with his back and arms and shoulders shows the amount of passion this man had to prove that everyone besides Manolin was wrong about him was exponential. As it says in the story, “the old man braces the line with his back and holds it taut in his hands, ready to give more line if necessary.” It basically tells just how much effort he had to put in to holding onto this line and keeping this fish from trying to escape. You could make the argument that his whole fight with this fish is a representation of how human life is, because his whole life has led up to him fighting this fish. It shows that you have to have a goal that you are trying to reach, the goal for Santiago is to get this drought over with so he can finally be viewed as a legitimate fisherman again and not the unlucky fisherman people call him. You can see that this is relevant when he pulls the fish in and spears it in the head to kill it because he is happy that he finally landed this big fish, but now what is he going to do? He just caught the biggest fish of his life, and no one was there to see it and he doesn’t know if anyone is even worthy enough for it.

As a fisherman he has a massive amount of respect for that fish and the fight that it gave, he also recognizes that it is a formidable foe. The reason you can get this is because even though he was having second thoughts about wanting to bring it back after he killed it which he did, he was defending its carcass because it was such a once in a life time type of catch. Another theme I noticed throughout the entirety of the book was respect, because one of the main things that Manolin showed when he around Santiago. He showed him massive amounts of love and respect because when Santiago gets back from this long and hard fought trip the first thing Manolin does is checks to see if Santiago is ok. Then he goes and gets him coffee and the daily newspapers with the baseball scores, so they can discuss all the things that he missed. Then he sat there and watched him sleep and took care of him till he was rested. Then Santiago got up Manolin helped him carry his fishing gear up to his house. He didn’t even go see why everyone was looking at Santiago’s boat he cared more about his mentor than he did the skeleton of the massive marlin that he had caught. You can also see that Santiago has a massive amount of respect for the sea and the life that thrives off of it, a perfect example is the fact that when he was heading out to drop his lines, he saw a seagull trying to catch the flying fish and in the book it states, “he hears the leaps and whirs of the flying fish, which he considers to be his friends…” it shows how highly he regards the life of the sea.

Another example of this is the fact that he still can recall the marlin he saw that was mourning the loss of its friend and can’t help but compare it to Manolin and his relationship, because yes, it is somewhat a coworkers relationship but it’s more than that as well it is also a relationship of love, kind of like a father has for a son because he has been fishing with this boy since the kid was only five years old, they both share a massive amount of respect for each other. I have to say this is one of the greatest books I’ve ever read it really has some deep meaning in it or at least I think it does, it shows how if you can give your character’s a relatable kind of feeling to it then it will always no matter how long the story is or old the book is it will catch the readers attention and will be able to stand the test of time just like all great literature. Hemingway is a great author, and this is just a perfect example of this, he writes in a way that makes you almost able to feel the characters emotions as if they were your own.

You can feel the pain that both Santiago and Manolin feel when his parents tell him he has to leave Santiago’s boat and join a more successful one. You can also see the love that both have for each other in the way that every morning they meet for coffee and share stories about how the fishing is going and the way they wish each other luck. You can also see the story build and can sense something is going to happen when Santiago tells Manolin that he is going to go out further than he ever had before, when he catches hooks the fish the way that he is described in the fight it is well done and you can almost feel the exhaustion in not only Santiago but the Marlin as well because it is swimming with the gulf stream to keep moving and not get caught.

“Old Man and the Sea” Story Review essay

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“Old Man and the Sea” Story Review. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/old-man-and-the-sea-story-review/

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