old man and the sea theme

old man and the sea theme

The Old Man and the Sea Themes

Hemingway spends a good deal of time drawing connections between Santiago and his natural environment: the fish, birds, and stars are all his brothers or friends, he has the heart of a turtle, eats turtle eggs for strength, drinks shark liver oil for health, etc. Also, apparently contradictory elements are repeatedly shown as aspects of one unified whole: the sea is both kind and cruel, feminine and masculine; the Portuguese man of war is beautiful but deadly; the mako shark is noble but cruel. The novella's premise of unity helps succor Santiago in the midst of his great tragedy. For Santiago, success and failure are two equal facets of the same existence. They are transitory forms which capriciously arrive and depart without affecting the underlying unity between himself and nature. As long as he focuses on this unity and sees himself as part of nature rather than as an external antagonist competing with it, he cannot be defeated by whatever misfortunes befall him.

Triumph over crushing adversity is the heart of heroism, and in order for Santiago the fisherman to be a heroic emblem for humankind, his tribulations must be monumental. Triumph, though, is never final, as Santiago's successful slaying of the marlin shows, else there would be no reason to include the final 30 pages of the book. Hemingway vision of heroism is Sisyphean, requiring continuous labor for essentially ephemeral ends. What the hero does is to face adversity with dignity and grace, hence Hemingway's Neo-Stoic emphasis on self-control and the other facets of his idea of manhood. What we achieve or fail at externally is not as significant to heroism as comporting ourselves with inner nobility. As Santiago says, "[M]an is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated" (103).

Hemingway's ideal of manhood is nearly inseparable from the ideal of heroism discussed above. To be a man is to behave with honor and dignity: to not succumb to suffering, to accept one's duty without complaint and, most importantly, to display a maximum of self-control. The representation of femininity, the sea, is characterized expressly by its caprice and lack of self-control; "if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them" (30). The representation of masculinity, the marlin, is described as "great,9quot; "beautiful,9quot; "calm,9quot; and "noble,9quot; and Santiago steels himself against his pain by telling himself to "suffer like a man. Or a fish," referring to the marlin (92). In Hemingway's ethical universe, Santiago shows us not only how to live life heroically but in a way befitting a man.

While important, Hemingway's treatment of pride in the novella is ambivalent. A heroic man like Santiago should have pride in his actions, and as Santiago shows us, "humility was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of true pride" (14). At the same, though, it is apparently Santiago's pride which presses him to travel dangerously far out into the sea, "beyond all people in the world," to catch the marlin (50). While he loved the marlin and called him brother, Santiago admits to killing it for pride, his blood stirred by battle with such a noble and worthy antagonist. Some have interpreted the loss of the marlin as the price Santiago had to pay for his pride in traveling out so far in search of such a catch. Contrarily, one could argue that this pride was beneficial as it allowed Santiago an edifying challenge worthy of his heroism. In the end, Hemingway suggests that pride in a job well done, even if pride drew one unnecessarily into the situation, is a positive trait.

Hemingway draws a distinction between two different types of success: outer, material success and inner, spiritual success. While Santiago clearly lacks the former, the import of this lack is eclipsed by his possession of the latter. One way to describe Santiago's story is as a triumph of indefatigable spirit over exhaustible material resources. As noted above, the characteristics of such a spirit are those of heroism and manhood. That Santiago can end the novella undefeated after steadily losing his hard-earned, most valuable possession is a testament to the privileging of inner success over outer success.

Being heroic and manly are not merely qualities of character which one possesses or does not. One must constantly demonstrate one's heroism and manliness through actions conducted with dignity. Interestingly, worthiness cannot be conferred upon oneself. Santiago is obsessed with proving his worthiness to those around him. He had to prove himself to the boy: "the thousand times he had proved it mean nothing. Now he was proving it again. Each time was a new time and he never thought about the past when he was doing it" (66). And he had to prove himself to the marlin: "I'll kill him. in all his greatness and glory. Although it is unjust. But I will show him what a man can do and what a man endures" (66). A heroic and manly life is not, then, one of inner peace and self-sufficiency; it requires constant demonstration of one's worthiness through noble action.

Manolin has an almost religious devotion to Santiago, underscored when Manolin begs Santiago's pardon for his not fishing with the old man anymore. Manolin says, "It was Papa made me leave. I am a boy and I must obey him," to which Santiago replies, "I know. It is quite normal. He hasn't much faith" (10). Manolin's father forced his son to switch to a more successful boat after 40 days had passed without a catch for Santiago; this is the amount of time Jesus wandered in the desert, tempted by Satan.

Just as Christ resisted the temptation of the devil, Santiago resists the temptation of giving in to his exhaustion as he battles the marlin. "It was a great temptation to rest in the bow and let the fish make one circle by himself without recovering any line." But he is committed to beating the fish, to proving his strength is more steadfast, thinking, "He'll be up soon and I can last. You have to last. Don't even speak of it."

The Old Man and the Sea Themes

The Old Man and the Sea Themes

The Old Man and the Sea key themes:

In The Old Man and the Sea, the human spirit proves unconquerable as Santiago retains his courage and respectful compassion even in the face of tremendous loss.

Santiago’s remarkable fishing together with his ultimate loss of the marlin depict Hemingway’s ideal vision of man’s relationship with nature: man does not conquer nature, but rather becomes one with it.

It is the struggle to achieve dreams that fulfills, not their completion; Santiago dreams contentedly of lions even after he loses the marlin, and so remains alive physically and spiritually.

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(Novels for Students)

In his novella about a fisherman who struggles to catch a large marlin only to lose it, Hemingway has stripped down the basic story of human life to its basic elements. A single human being, represented by the fisherman Santiago, is blessed with the intelligence to do big things and to dream of even grander things. Santiago shows great skill in devising ways to tire out the huge fish he has hooked and ways to conserve his strength in order to land it. Yet in the struggle to survive, this human must often suffer and even destroy the very thing he dreams of. Thus Santiago cuts his hands badly and loses the fish to sharks in the process of trying to get his catch back to shore. Yet the struggle to achieve one’s dreams is still worthwhile, for without dreams, a human remains a mere physical presence in the universe, with no creative or spiritual dimension. And so at the end of the story, Santiago, in spite of his great loss, physical pain, and exhaustion, is still “dreaming about the lions”—the same ones he saw in Africa when he was younger and would like to see again.

Against the seeming indifference of the universe, love is often the only force that endures. This force is best seen in the relationship of Santiago and Manolin, which has endured since Manolin’s early childhood. Over the years, Santiago has taught Manolin to fish and given him companionship and a sense of self-worth that Manolin failed to get from his own father. Manolin in return shows his love for Santiago by bringing him food and by weeping for him when he sees how much he suffered in fighting the marlin. Manolin also plans to take care of Santiago during the coming winter by bringing him clothing and water for washing.

Santiago’s love, of course, extends to other people as well. He loved his wife when they were married, though when she died he had to take down her portrait because it made him feel lonely. Similarly, even in his suffering he thinks of others, remembering his promise to send the fish head to his friend Pederico to use as bait. Santiago’s love also extends to include nature itself, even though he has often suffered at its hands. His love for all living creatures, whether fish, birds, or turtles, is often described, as is his love for the sea, which he sees as a woman who gives or withholds favors. Some of the younger fishermen, in contrast, often spoke of the sea as a “contestant” or even an “enemy.”

The comparison and contrast of these two stages of human life runs throughout the.

(The entire section is 1073 words.)

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(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The novel's best-known and oft-quoted line sums up its most important themes: "A man can be destroyed but not defeated." At the beginning of the story, Santiago has gone eighty-four days without catching a fish, but his sea-colored eyes remain "cheerful and undefeated." Variations on the theme of being undefeated abound, and point beyond mere physical endurance to a quality of the human spirit which endures and prevails in spite of suffering and loss. Hemingway's theme has the broadest possible application to general experience, suggesting that although a person may be stripped of everything in the process of living, may lose every thing and everyone, nevertheless a quest conducted with skill, courage, endurance, honor, and compassion can guarantee the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. Hemingway avoids the sentimental happy ending which would have Santiago bring home the great fish intact and sell it at market for a large sum of money. Instead, we see the materially impoverished but spiritually rich old fisherman bring only the bare skeleton of the marlin into port, earning no money yet cherishing a far greater prize: Rather than a mere triumph over nature, he has, with great dignity and humility, achieved atonement (at-one-ment), oneness with nature.

Other themes center on the apprentice-master relationship of Manolin and Santiago. The old man has taught the boy many important lessons — how to fish with skill and precision, how to live with wisdom.

(The entire section is 371 words.)

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The Old Man and the Sea Homework Help Questions

When Santiago finally wins over the large fish, he finds that the blood trail, so far out in the water, is attracting sharks. He kills the first one with his harpoon, but it gets stuck and he loses.

I don't believe that The Old Man and the Sea is over-rated. For the most part, it received positive reviews when Hemingway wrote it. And what probably makes it so much more deserving of accolades.

First, this question needs to be moved to the Discussion Board. I am sure you will get many different answers. I tend to believe that stories like Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is not.

If the question relates to how the themes of the short story connect to educational ideas, I think that there are many from which to choose. I think that all stakeholders in education need.

This is an opinion question - you need to examine the facts and the situations involved in making that choice and decide for yourself what you believe and what information you can use to support.

Old Man and the Sea: Theme Analysis

Total Votes: 5720

Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is the deceivingly simple story of an old Cuban fisherman who undergoes the most difficult struggle of his life. Despite being a relatively short work, the novel is filled not only with drama but with the parable of one man's perseverance through the hardest of times. In the title character, Santiago, Hemingway depicts one of the most distinguished examples in American Literature of an individual looking deep within to summon the courage necessary to get through the triumphs and tragedies that life -- represented by the sea -- presents.

Alone on the sea, Santiago continuously struggles to find hope in several seemingly hopeless situations. The old man exemplifies Hemingway's ideal of exhibiting "grace under pressure," as he refuses to submit to the overwhelming obstacles presented by the sea. Santiago's attitude seems to be that although he is faced with tragedy -- as everyone is sooner or later in life -- he will not cease struggling. Relying on memories of his youth, news of the Great DiMaggio's recovery from injury, and thoughts of the boy, Santiago finds the strength to physically and emotionally carry on throughout the story.

After hooking the great marlin Santiago realizes he is unable to quickly kill the fish, and it proceeds to tow him farther out to sea. Yet, throughout the test of endurance between man and fish the old man begins to recognize a bond between he and the marlin, repeatedly referring to it as his brother; he elaborates, "Now we are joined together and have been since noon. And no one to help either one of us" (50). The old man and the fish are both mere inhabitants among the diverse tropical life residing in the Gulf Stream, bonded by the fact that they are at the mercy of the sea.

The fish, therefore, transforms from merely being Santiago's prey to serving as a metaphor reflecting the old man's emotional and physical state. When the sharks mutilate the dead marlin hanging off the side of the skiff as Santiago struggles to sail home, the old man fights them off as if they were attacking him. Only when the marlin's carcass has been entirely eaten away does Santiago give up, knowing he "was beaten now finally and without remedy" (119).

Although the old man seemingly fails once the sharks steal his prize fish, they cannot take away the fact that Santiago -- the primary target for the jest and pity of other fishermen -- has done the unthinkable by staying with and catching a fish "bigger than he had ever heard of" (63). According to the "Hemingway Code," based on principles of courage and endurance, the old man has actually triumphed in spite of his loss. In spite of not successfully bringing the fish back, Santiago fights with dignity -- first to land the marlin, then to protect his fish from the sharks -- and in doing so asserts his humanity. Santiago endures and successfully survives his supreme ordeal, fighting the timeless battle of man vs. fate, with honor by remaining resilient in the face of triumph and tragedy.

The Old Man and The Sea Themes

After the First World War the place of the traditional hero in Western Literature was usurped by protagonists in the line of Kafka’s Mr. K. Hemingway’s protagonist from Nick Adams onwards are hemmed in like their prototype by a bewildering cosmos of society which confined them by stifling their spirits. Most of Hemingway’s novels emphasized upon what men cannot do and defined the world’s limitations, cruelties or built-in evil. What gives Old Man and the Sea its special place in Hemingway’s literary cannon is its emphasis on what men can do and on the world as an arena where heroic deeds are possible. The universe inhabited by Santiago, the Cuban fisherman was not devoid of pain and suffering but all that was transcended by the novel’s concluding maxim of “A man can be destroyed but not defeated”. It is this essential nobility of human striving as highlighted in Old Man through the character of Santiago that sets this novel apart from Hemingway’s other pessimistic novels such as The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms.

When Old Man and the Sea reappeared in 1952, Philip Young opined that the novel was a metaphorical presentation of life as a fight and the man as a fighter. Santiago’s role in the novel was to pursue to the Marlin, “for which I was born” as he reflected and Hemingway’s design in bringing to us this pursuit was to illustrate the axiom that sometimes in life defeat is inevitable but the real qualifier of victory lies in the nobility of struggle involved.

From the beginning of the novel the life of Santiago is seen as in incessant struggle against a sea that kept denying him fish. For eighty-four days the old man rowed into the Gulf Stream but in vain which highlighted the apparent destruction of the old man and the futility of his attempts. The old man was called salao – the worst form of unlucky and his sail was marked as the “flag of permanent defeat” but all this was in stark contrast with the spirit of Santiago which remained undaunted and full of hope and resolution for a lucky eight-fifth day. He went deep into the sea and beyond the safe limits of fishing, all set to catch the great denizens of the ocean that resided in the deepest parts. In going the extra mile Santiago foregrounded the element of striving in his character – his “never-back-down” attitude towards life.

Being rewarded for his attitude, when Santiago finally hooked a great marlin, larger in size than his skiff; what followed was a chapter of “what a man can do and what a man endures”. In trying to catch the great marlin, Santiago went through a world of pain but coolly said, “Pain does not matter to a man”. His hands were cut, his left arm kept cramping and he began to see dark spots with exertion but he pulled himself up saying, “I could not fail myself and die on a fish like this”. His strength was depleted but his refusal to give up was his saving grace. Eventually the fish was successfully killed and harpooned at the expense of every drop of vitality left in him, only to be attacked by the sharks. Although on his last legs, Santiago did not let go of his fighting code. It was then that he said, “But a man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated”. Owing to his fighter ethics he continued to battle the sharks up till the very end even though he knew it was hopeless; just in order to redeem his initial act of going out too far. Such striving gave the old man heroic proportions.

Santiago was a Hemingway code hero whose triumph depended upon the stretching his own powers to the absolute limits regardless of the physical results. In the end the sharks devoured his fish till there was just a long skeleton left but the essential nobility of his striving made him victorious even in defeat. Santiago affirmed his identity in the jaws of shark, adversity, old age and even death. By enduring extra-ordinary suffering he showed that man of all the beats, even the lions, marlins and sharks, had the greatest pride and dignity – that man is King.

On the destruction and consequent victory of Santiago, critic Leo Gurko says, “The greatness of the experience and the inevitability of the loss are bound up together. Nature provides us with boundless opportunities for the great experience if we have it in us to respond. The experience carries with it heavy tragic price. No matter. It is worth it.” The following morning after Santiago’s return to his hut, the other fishermen gaze in awe at the size of the skeleton and the reverential feeling of the boy is re-enforced as he declares – “Now we fish together again”. Even on the lowest level, Santiago’s heroic exploit creates a sensation as the visiting tourists are struck by a sense of extra-ordinary. Santiago himself forgets all about the defeat in his eager plans for the future with Manolin as he says, “We must get a good killing and always have it on board……… It should be sharp and not tempered so it will break”. He is all set to strike again.

Thus we see that instead of breaking down Santiago rises from his ashes like a phoenix to claim his identity of a great fisherman again. In him his fighter ethic still prevails. In this he embodies the essential nobility of human striving which is what Hemingway has celebrated in the novel by truly bearing out the maxim: “A man can be destroyed, but not defeated”.

Дорогие друзья! Мы с Вами продолжаем совмещать приятное с полезным: изучать английский язык, читая повесть Эрнеста Хэмингуэя «Старик и море» в оригинале. «Ваш словарик»- "Your vocabulary" познакомит Вас со словами, которые могут вызвать затруднения в понимании фрагмента текста данного урока. Если неизвестного слова нет в уроке, выберите букву, на которую оно начинается и перейдите в раздел "Vocabulary", где Вы и найдете перевод нужного слова. Перевод всех слов находится в словаре. Профессиональный перевод, выполненный Е. Голышевой и Б. Изаковым, вы можете прочитать в разделе "The translation" . Сам текст в оригинале представлен в рубрике "The old man and the sea" . "The pronunciation" снимет возможные трудности в произношении.

Climb-[клайм]- подниматься, взбираться, влезать; подъем, восхождение

Bank-[бэн:к]- банк, берег, ряд, насыпь, гряда, вал

Haul up-[хо:л ап]- останавливаться, тянуть; рейс, буксировка

Lucky-[л'аки]- счастливый, удачный, удачливый

Boat-[б'эут]- лодка, судно, катер, шлюпка

Obey-[э'бэй]- повиноваться, выполнять, слушаться

Stuff-[стаф]- материал, вещество, хлам; набивать, начинять

Fisherman-[ф'ишэмэн]- рыбак, рыболов

Fishermen-[-[ф'ишэмен]- рыбаки, рыболовы

Make fun of-[мэйк фан оф]- высмеивать

Politely-[пэл'айтли]- вежливо, любезно, учтиво

Weather-[У'эЗэ]- погода; погодный, выветривать

Butcher-[б'атче]- мясник; забивать

Marlin-[м'а:лин]- марлин (рыба, обитающая в тропической зоне Тихого и Индийского океанов; является объектом промыслового и спортивного лова)

Plank-[плэн:к]- доска, планка; обшивать досками

Stagger-[ст'эгэ]- шататься, ошеломлять, качаться; шатание

Ice-[айс]- лед; ледяной, ледовый; замораживать

Truck-[трак]- грузовик; автомашина

Market-[м'а:кит]- рынок, базар; биржа; торговать

Havana-[хэв'анэ]- Гавана (Столица Кубы)

Shark-[ша:к]- акула; мошенник

Factory-[ф'эктэри]- фабрика, завод; заводской, фабричный

Cove-[к'эув]- бухточка, небольшая бухта, заводь; свод

Hoist-[х'ойст]- поднимать; подъем, лебедка

Block-[блок]- блок; блокировать; блочный

Tackle-[тэкл]- снасть, принадлежности, снаряжение, оборудование; браться, решать; оснащать, оборудовать

Liver-[л'ивэ]- печень, печенка; печеночный

Fin-[фин]- плавник; ребро

Flesh-[флеш]- плоть, мясо, мякоть; тело

Salting-[с'о:лтин:]- посол; посолочный

“Santiago,” the boy said to him as they climbed the bank from where the skiff was hauled up. “I could go with you again. We’ve made some money.”

The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him.

“No,” the old man said. “You’re with a lucky boat. Stay with them.”

“But remember how you went eighty-seven days without fish and then we caught big ones every day for three weeks.”

“I remember,” the old man said. “I know you did not leave me because you doubted.”

“It was papa made me leave. I am a boy and I must obey him.”

“I know,” the old man said. “It is quite normal.”

“He hasn’t much faith.”

“No,” the old man said. “But we have. Haven’t we?”

“Yes,” the boy said. “Can I offer you a beer on the Terrace and then we’ll take the stuff home.”

“Why not?” the old man said. “Between fishermen.”

They sat on the Terrace and many of the fishermen made fun of the old man and he was not angry. Others, of the older fishermen, looked at him and were sad. But they did not show it and they spoke politely about the current and the depths they had drifted their lines at and the steady good weather and of what they had seen. The successful fishermen of that day were already in and had butchered their marlin out and carried them laid full length across two planks, with two men staggering at the end of each plank, to the fish house where they waited for the ice truck to carry them to the market in Havana. Those who had caught sharks had taken them to the shark factory on the other side of the cove where they were hoisted on a block and tackle, their livers removed, their fins cut off and their hides skinned out and their flesh cut into strips for salting.

["с'антий'а:гэу," Зэ бой сэд ту хим эз З:ей клаймд Зэ бэн:к фром У'эе Зэ скиф У'оз хо:лд ап. "ай куд г'эу У'иЗ: ю: эг'эн. У'ив мэйд сам м'ани."

Зи 'эулд мэн хэд то:т Зэ бой ту фищ энд Зэ бой лавд хим.

"н'эу," Зи 'эулд мэн сэд. "ю: а: У'иЗ: э л'аки б'эут. стэй У'иЗ: З:ем."

"бат рим'эмбэ х'ау ю: У'энт 'эйти- с'эвн дэйз У'иЗ:аут фищ энд З:ен У'и: ко:т биг У'анз 'эври дэй фо: С:ри: У'и:кс.

"ай рим'эмбэ," Зи 'эулд мэн сэд. "ай н'эу ю: дид нот ли:в ми: бик'о:з ю: д'аутид."

"ит У'оз пэп'а: мэйд ми: ли:в. ай эм э бой энд ай маст эб'эй хим."

"ай н'эу," Зи 'эулд мэн сэд. "ит из кУ'айт н'о:мэл."

"хи хэзнт мач фэйС:."

"н'эу," Зи 'эулд мэн сэд. "бат У'и: хэв. хэвнт У'и:?"

"йес," Зэ бой сэд. "кэн ай 'офэ ю: э б'иэ он Зэ т'ерэс энд З:ен У'ил тэйк Зэ стаф х'эум."

"У'ай нот?" Зэ 'эулд мэн сэд. "битУ'и:н ф'ишэмен."

З:ей сэт он Зэ т'ерэс энд м'эни оф Зэ ф'ишэмен мэйд фан оф Зи 'эулд мэн энд хи У'оз нот 'эн:ри. 'аЗ:эз, оф Зи 'эулдэ ф'ишэмен, лукт эт хим энд У'э: сэд. бат Зей дид нот ш'эу ит энд З:ей сп'эук пэл'айтли эб'аут Зэ к'арэнт энд Зэ дэпС:с Зей хэд др'ифтид З'эе лайнз эт энд Зэ ст'эди гу:д У'эЗэ энд оф У'от Зей хэд си:н. Зэ сэкс'эсфул ф'ишэмен оф Зэт дэй У'э: олр'эди ин энд хэд б'атчэд З'эе м'а:лин 'аут энд к'эрид Зем лэйд фул лэн:С: экр'ос ту: плэн:кс, У'иЗ: ту: мен ст'эгэрин: эт Зи энд оф и:ч плэн:к, ту Зэ фищ х'ауз У'эе Зей У'эйтид фо: Зи айс трак ту к'эри Зем ту Зэ м'а:кит ин хэв'анэ. З:эуз ху хэд ко:т ша:кс хэд тэйкн З:ем ту З:э ша:к ф'эктэри он З:и 'аЗэ сайд оф Зэ к'эув У'эе Зей У'э: х'ойстид он э блок энд тэкл, З'эе л'ивэз рим'у:вд, З'эе финз кат оф энд З'эе хайдз скинд 'аут энд З: 'эе флэш кат 'инту стрипс фо: с'о:лтин:. ]

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