Old Man in the Sea by Ernest Hemingway


Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea is a novel, written by Ernest Hemingway, which was a book written in 1952.

About the Author

Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Lawn, Ill. He grew up in the Great Lakes region and worked for a short time in Canada. His childhood was normal. His father worked as a doctor. His father commited suicide when he was young. Ernest’s first job was a reporter in Kansas City. He entered World War 1 when he was 17 and worked as a volunteer medic on an ambulance in 1918. He started novel writing in the 1920s. He was married four times in his life. His first wife was Hadley Richardson, who had a son with him. He had two boys with his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer. His third wife was named Martha Gellhorn and they both were military reporters.He went to Spain to report on the civil war. He was a
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
correspondent in World War II in France and wrote about the war. He married Mary, who is Ernest’s fourth wife. He lived in Florida, Cuba, and Spain.

He was preoccupied with violence and this does show in his writing, what happens in his life and this theme also reflects in his books. He was injured in World War 2 and he also suffered from diabetes complications and became an alcoholic. This caused Hemingway to be under stress and his writing was affected. He resided in Idaho where he lived out the rest of his life. He eventually committed suicide like his father did. Ernest and his father both shot themselves in the head.

Hemingway was one of the most famous writers in America during the 20th Century. His books are read all over the world by colleges and high schools today. He wrote short stories and novels. One of his best books was “The Old Man and the Sea”; he wrote a lot of stories with violence and sadness. In the "Old Man and the Sea”, Hemingway received $40,000 for copyrights and over five million copies were published. This is why I chose this book.

Summary of Novel

The novel, "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway, is about Santiago, a poor fisherman, who fishes alone without a fish for eighty-four days. His protege Manolin changes boats because the old man is unlucky, but he did fish with Santiago for the first forty days without a fish.

Manolin just wants to fish with Santiago but it does not work out. As the novel goes on, Santiago uses sardines to help get a fish. Santiago becomes weak and he is determined to get a fish.

The author mentions that the boy and the old man both are Yankees fans. Their favorite player is Joe DiMaggio. Baseball is a common interest of Santiago and Manolin.

Santiago uses a small skiff and he believes he could get bait to try and get that fish.

He sees other sea animals that are dolphins, sea turtles and birds. Santiago is strong like a turtle's heart. After a while, he catches his big fish. The fish is a marlin.

The fish takes Santiago into the open sea. He is being pulled out and he thinks the fish is magnificent.
Marlin and Santiago's Boat
Marlin and Santiago's Boat

The fish stays alive for two to three days.

Santiago is exhausted, hungry, has crippling hands and has a very tired body but Santiago is determined to bring back the fish in however what his feelings are. The fact he talks to himself about baseball makes him feel comfortable.

Right before the death of the marlin, Santiago is proud of himself because he sees how big, powerful and large the fish is even though he has caught many fish in the past.

After Santiago killed the marlin, he is very determined to bring the fish home. The sharks keep coming and he kills as many as he can but there is still a part that was eaten. He is never to give up hope and thinking about DiMaggio and he would be proud of him about killing the sharks.

Eventually, the sharks win out and he loses his strength. The fish is eaten and the marlin is just a skeleton when Santiago returns to Havana.

He arrives back to his shack at night in Havana. He gets into his bed and falls asleep. The next morning, Manolin gives him coffee and food. Other fishermen discovered the fish Santiago caught was eighteen feet long. The boy is telling Santiago he wants to fish with the old man still, who has hope and pride.

Literary Devices

There is one allusion in the novel. The contemporary allusion is Joe DiMaggio. The allusion means that DiMaggio is like Santiago's god.

Here are two examples of similies in the novel. The first simile is, "The clouds over the land now rose like mountains." The author is comparing clouds and mountains. The next simile is, "They played like cats in the dusk." The author is comparing the characters and cats.

Here are two examples of metaphors in the novel. The first example of a metaphor is, "The man calls the man of war, you whore." Hemingway is comparing man to a whore. The next example is, "He is comparing the fish with his brothers." Hemingway is comparing fish and brothers.

Here two examples of personification in the novel. Santiago's hands are becoming a claw. "The hands are betraying him" is an example of personification. Also, The old man talks about the ocean being cruel.

Character List

Main character

Old Man

Young boy
Cares about and also loves Santiago
Learned fishing from Santiago
He also takes care of Santago

Owner of a restaurant called The Terrace


The "Old Man and the Sea" is set in a poor fishing village in Cuba on the Caribbean Sea. There are many boats in the village. The main character Santiago has a small boat. The weather is very hot and the novel is set in the summer months. The mood of the whole novel is perseverence.

Literacy Criticism

The interesting points Mr. Wiliams writes is about how he talks about Santiago's "undeserved punishment". He also talks about his eyes versus poverty. "He maintains a ritual of dignity against his poverty and hunger, he insists he is strong enough for a huge fish." He is a non-complainer and he is also "self-pity" when it comes to spending almost three months without a single fish. Santiago knows the sea is dangerous and enormus and you can pass away out there. The part when the fish takes the hook the "yes, yes" an event might happen in the moment he says "yes, yes". The old man hooks with the fish and the fish takes "command of the skiff and commencing to tow it." When the old man caught the marlin that set the tragic action in motion because this was an impossible task to get the fish to the market. Santiago is saying, "Why am I doing, why am I a fisherman". Santiago was born to fish.

He is analyzing the tragedies of Santiago. Heroism is also displayed in his criticism. The irony of the power of the enemy occurs often in the novel. Mr. Williams compared and contrasted the Eucharistic fable to the plot of the "Old Man and the Sea". Both works of literature featured the "banner of permanent defeat." Mr. Williams alos states that it is "the autumn of my life", which is a metaphor. He relates Christianity to what happens in a "cosmic cycle." It is a fate that means what is going to happen occurs. He makes an inference to a ritual. He makes an illusion to god. He thinks the sea is a great place. He states about "the divine order of the sea." He uses "a passage of definition" when talking about when the fish and Santiago are talking about each other. Mr. Williams also uses cause and effect when talking about when the fish and Santiago are talking about each other. The critic uses chronogical order of his interpretation about when to find the fish and the dolphins. The critic talks with Santiago about "pushing the margins." Santiago could know he could risk his life or die. His awareness of what is going to possibly happen occurs in the novel. He makes a reference to the "incarnation of different states being". They are not the same but they have determination to live and succeed.

Personal Review

The book, "The Old Man in the Sea" helped me understand tragedy. I feel sorry for the old man because his wife died, suffered from poverty and was lonely throughout the novel. Santiago is a well-educated fisherman. He loves the boy a lot. The book was easy to understand and I loved reading it. It helped me learn about life and empathy. The lesson I learned was to never give up and have hope. I felt the novel was excellent and uplifting because he met his goal in catching the biggest fish in his life. I liked how he had much determination. His body was sapped of energy. He was physically and emotionally fragile but never gave up. I also enjoyed Santiago's references to the Yankees and Joe DiMaggio. Also, I thought about hunger and poverty when reading the book and hoped he would bring home the fish. I felt upset when he only brought home the skeleton. The book reminds me of two favorite hospital fish tanks. The book reminds me of the fish tank, located at Good Samaritan Medical Center in the Emergency Department waiting room. The novel also reminds me of the fish tanks in the Children's Hospital Boston lobby, which is located at 300 Longwood Avenue in the Main Building over by the Main Elevators. This book is similar to the "Grapes of Wrath" because they never give up and have nothing. I recommend this book to others because the novel delivers social skills lessons.

Links to Further Reading

AllReaders: Plot Summary


"Hemingway, Ernest." Encylopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century. Ed. Leonard Klein. Vol. 2. New York: Frederick Ungar Publications, 182. 353-59. Print.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952. Print.
Poplawski, Paul. "Ernest Hemingway 1889-1961." Encylopedia of Literary Modernism. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2003. 174-76. Print.
Unger, Leonard. "Ernest Hemingway." American Writers: a Collection of Literary Biographies. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974. 247-270. Print.
Wirt, Williams, and Harold Bloom. "Wirt Williams on Tragic Elements in Novel." Literary Reference Center. EBSCO, Brockton High School IRC.11 May 2010. Web. 11 May 2010. <http://www.web.ebscohost.com>.