Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea- Analysis

The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s best works of literature. The protagonist of the book is an old fisherman, Santiago, which was down on his luck, but his strength of mind helps him with hooking the largest marlin in the water. The other character of the book is Manolin. This young boy is Santiago’s best and only friend. The story is set in Cuba. The story is written in realistic tone. The major conflict is Santiago’s three days long struggle with the fish.

The story takes place in the small fishing village, Havana, Cuba, in late 1940s. The old man, Santiago, hasn’t caught any fish for eighty-four days and people started to talk about his bad luck. Man survives only thanks to Manolin’s help. He steals or begs for money to buy food and other supplies for Santiago.

The main theme of the story is accomplishment. The main part of the story describes fight between lonely fisherman Santiago and a marlin. This fight is Santiago’s important test of his skills. Hemingway describes the fight as a symbol of man’s strength and pride. Hemingway wants to tell us that the man always has to be prepared to fight. The honor of the man should order to fight to the end and not to give up, even though the mind is telling him that struggle is absurd. Giving up on the fight would be a defeat.
The real meaning of the wining is shown in the quote from book: “You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?” This quote shows that Santiago killed the marlin not for food or any other material goods; he did it to prove for himself that he is still able to do so. His bad luck ended with his success over the dead marlin.

The second main theme of the book is Santiago’s friendship with a young boy named Manolin. Boy proves his true attachment with his actions not words. Boy steals and begs for money because without that Santiago could’ve starved to death. Boy doesn’t leave him even than when his parents told him to do so, because of Santiago’s bad luck in fishing. Boy trusts Santiago and treats him as his leader. Hemingway wants us to see how important in one’s life is friendship. Without Manolian’s support Hemingway wouldn’t have go to the sea, wanting to end his bad luck.

Hemingway wanted marlin to symbolizes fisherman’s perfect challenger. Santiago had to accept marlin’s power and strength. He was impressed in marlin strength and grace. Only because of his appreciation to that individual he was able to defeat it.

The sharks symbolized natural rival for both Santiago and the marlin. Although sharks were interested in marlin more than in Santiago, they had to deal with the old man. Santiago after overwhelming marlin, had to gather his strength to fight with hungry sharks. Although Santiago tried to beat crook he won no glory over them.

The story is basically teaching us not to give up, even though our fight may seem senseless. Hemingway wants his readers to realize that fighting shouldn’t have any material meanings. One has to beat his opponent for his own satisfaction and to prove for oneself that he is able to fight to the end. Hemingway wanted people to see that everyone has to feel respect for his or her rival.

Hemingway also wanted to show that everyone needs a friend. Santiago wouldn’t survive without his friend’s Manolin support. Boy didn’t leave his friend even though his bad luck was known for everyone.

The story relates to people’s everyday life. It doesn’t necessary mean that everyone have to fight with strong marlin. It’s just a metaphor for people’s problems. We, just like Santiago, have to accept our rival’s strength and power. And just like the protagonist of The Old Man and The Sea, we cannot give up; we have to fight to the end of our strength.

I really enjoyed this book. Santiago impressed me with his strength. He never even thought of withdrawing from the fight. The story had a huge impact on my life. I’ve learned that I cannot give up on anything. I have also learned that people shouldn’t struggle for any material reasons, but for one’s personal feelings and to prove oneself that he or she still is able to defeat his or her rival.

I would definitely recommend The Old Man and the Sea for people to read. It is a great lesson for one’s life, and it also shows for individuals that their power and strong will help people to win. The book also shows that people need others to support them in difficult moments. Without Manolin, Santiago wouldn’t overcome marlin.

Sources -

No comments:

Post a Comment