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“The Old Man and the Sea”
“The Old Man and the Sea” is a tale of mans strength pitted against forces he cannot control. It is a tale about an old Cuban fisherman and his three-day battle with a giant Marlin. Through the use of three prominent themes; friendship, bravery, and Christianity; the “Old Man and the Sea” strives to teach important life lessons to the reader.
The relationship between the old man and the boy is introduced early in the story. They are unlikely companions; one is old and the other young, yet they share an insuperable amount of respect and loyalty for each other. Santiago does not treat Manolin as a young boy but rather as an equal. Age is not a factor in their relationship. Manolin does not even act as a young boy; he is mature and sensitive to Santiago’s feelings. He even offers to go against his parent’s wishes and accompany Santiago on his fishing trips. Santiago is viewed as an outcast in his village because he has not caught any fish for more than eighty-four days and is therefore “unlucky”. Nonetheless Manolin is loyal to Santiago and even when his parents forbid him he wants to help his friend.
Their conversations are comfortable, like that of two friends who have known each other for their whole lives. When they speak it is usually about baseball or fishing, the two things they have most in common. Their favorite team is the Yankees and Santiago never loses faith in them even when the star player, Joe DiMaggio is injured with a heel spur. In this way Santiago not only teaches Manolin about fishing but also about important characteristics such as faith.
In the story Santiago’s bravery is unsurpassed but it is not until he hooks the “great fish” that we truly see his valor and perseverance. Through Santiago’s actions Hemingway teaches the reader about bravery and perseverance in the face of adversity. He demonstrates that even when all is lost and seems hopeless a willful heart and faith will overcome anything. Santiago had lost his “luckiness” and therefore the respect of his village. Through the description of his cabin we also suspect that Santiago is a widower. Although Santiago has had many troubles he perseveres. He has faith in Manolin, in the Yankees, in Joe DiMaggio, and most importantly in himself. This is perhaps his greatest attribute because without it he would never have had the strength to persevere and defeat the giant Marlin.
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The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago, Joe DiMaggio, Marlin
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