The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Updated October 31, 2021

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The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway essay

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Language Analyst

My favourite word does not appear in the table above. The word is ‘salao’. In the first paragraph of the story, this word is defined that “it is the worst form of unlucky”. This adjective describes the unluckiness of Santiago. He had not caught any fish for eighty-four days. For a fisherman like him, it is quite unacceptable. As his age and his experience, he should have caught at least a fish. But he did not. From my perspective, this word was created only for him to express his unfortunate. However, I can see that it may express his little hope in this horrible situation. He still kept fishing and looked forward to a great catch to save his career. And somehow that was invaluable. I will definitely use it again when describing a situation like this old man- a man with hope and dream in the hopeless situation.



  • To Manolin: Manolin is the only friend of Santiago. Although “many of the fisherman made fun of the old man”, people do not believe in his luck anymore, Manolin still has a good faith in Santiago and want to fish with him. The little boy shows us a valuable friendship.
  • To the Sea: The sea become an essential part in Santiago’s life. It provides him food as well as a job to live. Indeed, the sea gives meanings to his life.

Santiago plays an important role in highlight the theme of the story. In the first 26 page of the work. We can see the faith of Santiago in the sea despite his eighty-four days without taking a fish. A patient character appeared with the description “thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck” give the reader the hope and his effort.

The motivations of Santiago is the connection with the sea. He loves the sea literally as a man love his career and the man really loves what he does despite of the scars brought back by the sun in his adventures.


  • To Santiago: Santiago is not only a friend but also a teacher who teach him how to fish. Manolin really adores Santiago and he tries to help his teacher as much as he can.

Marolin is a metaphor of a true friend who always stand by his friend whatever happen. They share all the happiness and the sorrow when they work together, even they’re not, they still talk about fish, length and American baseball and one of the old man’s heroes, Joe DiMaggio, the great Yankee outfielder.

The relationship between Santiago and Manolin is based on love, they take care each other like a father and the son. “The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him”. Although the parents of Manolin forbid him to go fishing with Santiago, he still wants to due to his love and respect for the old man

The Sea

  • To Santiago: The sea provide him food as well as a job to live. The sea is a metaphor of a mother always give gifts to her child.

The sea appeared as a source of life and meaning. The sea is considered also as a love with the lots of risk of luck and unlucky things. Santiago have to win all of the doubts to come to the sea everyday.

The sea motivates all the characters in this story. The sea in the first 26 page helps the old man to catch the big fish which give him hope.

What did you learn from examining these characters? What was the most interesting character and why? What character do you relate to the most? Why? Discuss and write a short paragraph.

Every character in “ The old man and the sea” interacts with each other and somehow we can see the main connection between is the love. The love connects characters such as Santiago and Manolin, Santiago and the sea to build up the whole meaning story. And in my opinion, Santiago is the most interesting character, a energetic person and also a model of the faith and patience that I want to go towards. Although he is claimed to be not an effective man anymore and he had gone eighty-four days without taking a fish, he still has his belief and an admirable patience in the next day. That is the reason he is the character I like the most. Not everyone who failed many times has the courage and the bravery to try it again and again. Besides, the love for the sea of Santiago is always a connection between me and this story. The sea is like a mother and its sources are the love for human. Sometimes the sea is peaceful and sometimes it is furious. That makes the sea like an unpredictable and mysterious thing which I like the most.


Santiago and society

  • Santiago was isolated with other fishermen, they admitted he is a salao (worst form of unlucky).Also, many of fishermen make fun of the old man.
  • Santiago did not mind or get angry. He did not think it in a negative way, he confirmed that he was run of luck but he did not claim that he doubted his ability of catching fish, and he still had hope – ‘tomorrow is going to be a good day’

Santiago and Manolin

  • Manolin wanted Santiago to have supper but Santiago did not want to eat anything (Because he gave penalty to himself for not catching any fish).
  • This conflict shows that Santiago cares about his failure, his body is not worthy to have a meal. However, he appreciates his friendship with the boy more than his rules. He was soft with the boy’s warm heart and accepted the reality that he must have strength for the tomorrow’s sail

Santiago and Imaginary things (himself)

  • The Santiago who faced with the real fiction versus The Santiago who lives in unrealistic fiction and wishes to have many things that do not exist. He dreams about having the radio like the rich do, he wishes the boy is here to help him and he imagines the reality that he was not a fisherman. But no ! He need to get back with the reality, he has to focus on one thing – “That which I was born for’ that is fishing and now is fighting the great marlin.
  • This proof the old man is not a dreamer and alway know how to get back the real world and he will not give up even though he did not have what he wants.

Santiago and the great marlin

  • He catched the marlin but the marlin seems like it had many experience and it did his best to stay alive and escape.On the other hand the old man also did not choose to give up and he fighted the marlin with a positive attitude. Beside of that, he had conversation with the fish with his reception.
  • During the conversation with the fish and Santiago’s thought, we know this is the survivor game, Santiago goes fishing is not for fun like a hunting game but he must do it because he need to eat and he felt sorry for the fish.There are no wrath, hate in Santiago in this fight and he respects the fish like a real person, a real competitor.

Come with the plots, the conflict make the characters in the story feel more alive because they interact with the things around them or the changing inside their head. Through the conflict, the readers also understand more about the story than take away from the story .The reason for it is because these are the chances for Hemingway develops his character’s mind or feeling after those events.

For example, Santiago and society, readers have a clear vision of Santiago’s position in the community and how Santiago deals with it.In addition, the conflict makes the characters realize many things that help them improve themselves. More detail, Manolin wants Santiago to eat which make Santiago stop punishing himself and get back with the reality, the reality that he need to eat to get strength to sail. Or inter conflict of Santiago that make he stop wishing for something is unrealistic and he has learned his lesson about accepting the reality and keep in mind what he as born for.


Connection: Between the book and your own world, culture, society, and story

Explanation of connection

  • The old fisherman knows his remaining time is limited, but he wishes to haul in one more big fish, achieve one more great thing in his vocation before the end comes and he can not active.
  • Manolin always cares about Santiago even though he does not go fishing with the old man.
  • The old man believed he could catch fish though his health was no longer the same. He expressed confidence and perseverance through words and actions.
  • Although the old man was told by many people that: he was old and out of luck, he did not care what they said.
  • Time is very valuable so we have to cherish it. Especially when you are old and do not have much time to live, you should appreciate it more. Doing the things you want and love is one of the best ways to use time.
  • Beautiful and precious friendship is always the motivation for you to overcome difficulties.
  • Although you have many difficulties and challenges, do not give up. Believe you can do it by yourself and overcome all the challenges.
  • Everyone has a life of their own. You do not need to pay attention and follow what others say. You just need to be yourself.

The story conveys my inspiration and faith. When I read the story I thought that everyone is walking on their own way, regardless of how fast or slow you go, the most important thing is how you go it. To fulfill your own dreams, you must overcome many difficulties and challenges. If you do not give up, you will succeed. In addition, beautiful friendship is also a great motivation for you to maintain your own beliefs. Base on connecting between the story and the life, I can understand this story easier. Most of the works related to life are loved by everyone. Because those books are very meaningful. For me, the most important in the story is the message that the author wants to convey. Because it can be applied to the real life of people as well as the motivation when they encounter difficulties.


Themes: issues such as race, gender, sexuality, discrimination, self-acceptance, social class, politics, religion, relationships, ethics, morality, etc.


Santiago taught Manolin how to catch a fish when he was 5. But Manolin’s parents forced him to leave Santiago. The friendship between Santiago and Manolin plays a critical part in Santiago’s victory over the marlin. If Manolin does not appear, Santiago will be isolation in the story and the dialogue become meaningless.


Santiago is pitted against the creatures of the sea. Human compete natural display qualities of pride, honor, and bravery but they are subject to the same eternal law: they must kill or be killed. Santiago wards off sharks even though he knows the battle is useless. He emerges as a hero, he meets his most dignified destiny.


Santiago is an unlucky man. He does not catch any fish whole the 84 days. He usually decisions and actions in a Lady Lucky. It suggests that skill and preparedness are more important than superstition. Although Santiago’s hope confidence had never gone in the end he is a loser in his life.

Friendship between Santiago and Manolin is one of the main characters. They are very different in age, Santiago is a old fisherman and Manolin is a young man. Manolin’s parents do not catch any fish for 84 days. Although Santiago is facing bad luck, Manolin always believes the older friend can teach him how to be a fisher successfully. After a long while, they become close friend. Their relationship makes the story to be more successful.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway essay

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The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-old-man-and-the-sea-by-ernest-hemingway/


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