The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway is one of the most famous authors in the world. He was a drunk, and he committed suicide. He lived in Spain and loved adventures. Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for this book. Many believe he represents the old man in this story.
Santiago: This guy is an old Cuban fisherman. He is obsessed with catching this really big Marlin (a fish) which is far out in the sea. Santiago is like the hero of the story.
Manolin: Manolin is a boy who goes around with Santiago. He has been with Santiago since he was 5. Now he is much older, a teenager. He depends on Santiago, and Santiago depends on the boy.
This book is weird. The total span of time in the book is 3 days and 3 nights. In the beginning of the book, we learn that Santiago has not caught a fish for 84 days. He has a loyal friend, Manolin (boy). Manolin’s parents want him to work on other boats cause Santiago is bad luck, but Manolin still helps out the old dude. On the first day of fishing, Santiago goes really far out to sea hoping to catch a big ass fish. When his boat is out there, a fish starts taking his bait. The fish is so big it starts pulling the boat. Later that night, Santiago is still in the boat and the big fish is still pulling the boat. On the second day, Santiago is hurting because this fish has been on his fishing line for a long time. He cuts one hand on the fishing line and his other hand is cramped from holding onto the fish. Finally the fish surfaces and Santiago sees that this fish is a really big ass Marlin. Then he thinks about his hero, baseball player Joe Dimaggio.
Later on the second night, Santiago eats a small fish he caught earlier. He goes to sleep, but wakes up when the marlin jerks the line. Santiago cuts his hand again. He is happy because the more the Marlin jumps, the more air fill his lungs/gills and therefore he is easier to catch.
On the third day, the Marlin starts swimming around, pulling the boat in a circle. Santiago tightens up on the line so the fish has to circle near the boat. Then Santiago stabs it with a harpoon. After he stabs the fish, he starts to set sail back to Cuba but a shark suddenly comes and eats off a chunk of the Marlin. Santiago kills the shark with his harpoon, but loses the harpoon in the fight. Now that there is blood in the water, more sharks swim towards the boat. Santiago kills a couple of the sharks, but some of them manage to eat more of the Marlin. When Santiago loses his knife, he just starts clubbing the sharks.
On the third night, Santiago is close to Havana (Cuba). But more sharks come and he tries to fight them off, but they strip off all of the flesh on the Marlin. So he finally arrives in Havana with just a skeleton of a Marlin. The next day, Manolin finds Santiago sleeping, and everyone (townspeople, tourists) are amazed at the size of the Marlin skeleton.
This book has no chapters but it spans over 3 days (also a day before and day after). So, we will do plot summary day by day.
- We learn about the 2 characters. Santiago is an old Cuban widower who can’t catch a fish to save his life.
- Manolin is his loyal boy servant. they’ve been together a long time.
- Manolin’s parents are superstitious cause they make him work for another fisherman cause they think the old guy is bad luck
- Manolin still works for the old guy. Manolin does not go out on the boat though.
- Santiago wakes the boy up. Early in the morning the two walk to the boat.
- Santiago talks about all the fish and the sea. He is in love with the sea and considers it a living thing with a personality.
- Santiago sails out really far cause he wants to catch a BIG fish.
- Santiago adjusts the line on his fishing pole so everything is perfect.
- Santiago watches a dolphin and a bird compete for food (flying fish)
- We see that Santiago is a weird old man. He talks to fish.
- Santiago feels something pulling on the line, and he knows it is the big fish. He starts talking to the fish.
- The fish starts to pull the boat against the current.
- Santiago wishes Manolin was there to help out.
- The fish pulls the boat very far, so Santiago can’t see land anymore.
- He repositions himself, and the line is getting to him physically
- Santiago has a wide range of thoughts from pity for the fish to not feeling guilty that he’ll be killing it
- The fish jerks the line and Santiago bumps his head and cuts it.
- The fish is still towing the boat.
- Santiago notices that the fish is at a lesser depth. He wants the fish to jump. If the fish jumps, he gets air into his gills and dies sooner.
- Santiago talks to the big fish.
- He then notices his left hand is cramped. this hurts ALOT.
- He still is fighting with the fish, talking to himself and then says some prayers. He can see the fish is tiring.
- Santiago catches a dolphin to eat.
- Santiago is tired but happy he has food and the fish doesn’t.
- He eats the food, and the food really really sucks.
- He goes to sleep for a while.
- Santiago pulls the line in, and the fish starts swimming around the boat.
- Santiago keeps fighting the fish who is flipping around in pain.
- Finally with his last bit of strength, Santiago stabs the fish with his harpoon.The fish is dead.
- Santiago starts to head back to Havana with his Marlin.
- As he drags to Marlin behind the boat, a shark comes and rips 40lbs of flesh off of the Marlin.
- He kills the shark, but loses his harpoon.
- Santiago talks to himself again and regrets killing the Marlin because it is a noble fish.
- He thinks alot about and how killing the fish is a sin.
- More sharks show up because there is a trail of blood.
- The sharks eat up more of the Marlin. Santiago thinks this is punishment for his sin.
- More sharks continue to come, and the only weapon Santiago has is his oar to club them.
- Then Santiago arrives at the harbor and goes to bed.
THE NEXT DAY
- Manolin finds the old man sleeping.
- Manolin promises Santiago that he will never fish alone again.
- They admire the skeleton. Everyone admires the skeleton of the big fish. At first they think it is a shark, but then find out it is a Marlin.
THINGS TO MAKE YOU LOOK SMART
- This is a tale of man vs nature. Nature is probably man’s greatest enemy besides themselves.
- This story is very symbolic religiously.
- Santiago can be seen as a "christ figure" which means something bad happened to him (his injuries due to fighting the sea and fish) but then got redemption (caught the fish)
- Throughout the story Santiago changes alot and so does the situation. He goes from suffering and being a martyr to glory.
- Sometimes in the novel (when he breaks his fishing honor code to catch the fish by going out too deep) he looks like a sinner, and sometimes he looks like a hero or saint.