The Old Man and The Sea was one of Ernest Hemingway’s most famous works. In fact, it was the last fiction story that he wrote. The Old Man and The Sea was a story about Santiago and the marlin. Santiago was an old Cuban fisherman who had an unlucky streak in fishing…
It did end as he was able to catch a great marlin but as he was going home, sharks attacked and ate his prized fish. He arrived at his home exhausted with what’s left of the marlin, its skeleton, mostly its backbone. At the first read, The Old Man and The Sea was like a simple story about an old man struggle to end his unlucky streak in fishing. And it did end when he caught the marlin though he lost it to the sharks as he was going home. But The Old Man and The Sea was not a simple story. In fact, when you read it several times, you would always find something new with it. The story could be about old age. It could also be about man versus nature. It could also be about social expectations and discrimination. It depends on your perspective how you would interpret the meaning of the symbols Hemingway used in the story. The Old Man and The Sea has a lot of references to the rituals that our society follows. The hopes and dreams of individuals are influenced by the belief in a religion and luck. This is shown through the story by telling us how Santiago had precise actions before going fishing. His methods of preparing himself with battling the ocean and the fish that he was to catch indicated a great influence of religious practices. Even in the course of battling with the marlin, Santiago showed us how he was influenced by religion and rituals. He regarded the marlin as human, someone who can understand him. This was seen when he talks to the fish while it resisted Santiago’s tug. Religion had taught us to respect every living being. And this was what he did even when he knew he would eventually kill the fish. He respected the fish by talking to it. He did not bastardize its body. In fact, he tried to save it from being eaten whole by the sharks. When the fish circled around the boat and indicated its weakness, Santiago felt the strength come out of him as he pulled the fish into boat. This showed us that, although it was a hard feat, Santiago was prepared to do it, for the sake of proving to himself and to everyone else back at home that he was not an unlucky one anymore. And even if he was unable to bring the whole fish home intact, he was able to regain the respect of the community for bringing home the largest fish ever caught by a villager. This stressed how one’s status in the community is influenced by the perspectives of other people. Before catching the marlin, Santiago was taught to be an unlucky one. Parents feared their sons would catch his “sickness” (as the unlucky one), and this might bring them bad luck as well. He was also not fully accepted because of his Cuban descent and even more because he was old. The story also showed us that fishing is not a simple job. It was something that you need to be prepared for. Hemingway used simple words in this short story. It seemed like he wanted to make sure that the people reading this story would really understand what it means when they become of age, and when they become older. The story was simply constructed. It did not go in circles and it was linear. It also did not suggest how you would understand the story. Rather, it presented ideas and facts through the way Hemingway constructed the story. Aside from the rich images and allusions, Hemingway also made sure that the narrative modes are shifting. When you look at the first and last part of the story, you would notice that it is in the third person view, someone who did not dwell on Santiago’ ...
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