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The Old Man and The Sea (novel by Hemnigway(

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  • The Old Man and The Sea (novel by Hemnigway(


    The Old Man and the Sea is one of the most popular and moving works of the twentieth century. When The Old Man and the Sea first appeared in the September 1, 1952, issue of Life magazine, millions of people stood in line at newsstands to purchase a copy; 5,300,000 copies were sold in two days. The excitement generated by the novella, rare for such a serious piece of literature, can be traced to its unforgettable portrait of the old fisherman, Santiago, and its vivid presentation of the novella's other principal presence: the sea.
    The Old Man and the Sea probes basic questions of life and death, and explores humankind's relationship with nature. Free of the sentimentality that often characterizes stories dealing with nature and animals, the story still carries emotional impact. Above all, it is an action story, with the great noble marlin, the malignant savage sharks, and the wise, skillful, and patient old man holding center stage.

    The narrative takes place in the 1940s. Although the opening and closing scenes take place on land in a small Cuban fishing village, the dominant setting is the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba. Hemingway believes the sea to be the last great unexplored territory on earth, and this work travels deeply into the nature of this mysterious setting.

    The small cast of characters in The Old Man and the Sea consists of Santiago, the old fisherman, and Manolin, the boy who has fished with him for years. Though the old man hits a run of bad luck, Manolin still wishes to fish with him. But Manolin's parents demand that he fish with a more successful boat.
    Other important characters come to life in Santiago's mind. Santiago speaks to and loves the flying fish, the dolphins, and the noble marlin. Santiago also speaks to the sharks, but he meets their malignancy with enmity. The sea is also a character, perhaps the major presence in the book. Santiago thinks of the sea as a woman, thinks of it 'as la mar, which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her,' while the younger fisherman think of the sea as the masculine 'el mar ' and consider it 'a contestant or a place or even an enemy.' The famous New York Yankee of the 1930s and 1940s, Joe DiMaggio, maintains a symbolic presence in the novel, often in Santiago's thoughts. Despite the pain of his bone spur, DiMaggio plays great baseball. Santiago, too, perseveres in spite of his age and 'bad luck.'
    The book's best-known line sums up its most important theme: 'A man can be destroyed but not defeated.' Hemingway suggests that, although a person may be stripped of everything in the process of living, a quest conducted with skill, courage, and endurance can guarantee the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. Hemingway rejects the traditional happy ending in which Santiago, the impoverished old fisherman, would bring home the great fish intact and sell it for a large amount of money at market. Instead, Santiago brings only the bare skeleton of the marlin into port, earning no money yet garnering a far greater prize: rather than triumphing over nature, he achieves oneness with it.
    Other important themes in the book center on the master-apprentice relationship between Santiago and Manolin. The old man has taught the boy many important things—how to fish with skill and precision, and how to live with wisdom and dignity—but the old man also has great need for the boy, especially when he is alone at sea and takes the great fish. During his trying experience with the marlin, the old man repeatedly says, 'I wish I had the boy. To help me and to see this.' The thematic statement, 'No one should be alone in their old age,' refers to the old man's solitude and emphasizes the characters' relationship of mutual respect and love.
    Another major theme is the kinship of all creatures. Santiago loves and respects the fish he kills. The old man finds it difficult to express the paradoxical love he feels for the fish: 'I do not understand these things,' he thinks, 'but it is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers.'

    Hemingway focuses on Santiago's consciousness in this quest story. Very much in the way that a traditional soliloquy or an interior monologue serves to reveal character, this novella functions as one long exploration of the old man's character.
    Hemingway's symbolism suggests that Santiago is a Christ-figure. After the sharks attack his fish, for example, Santiago says, 'Ay'; Hemingway writes that 'there is no translation for this word and perhaps it is just a noise such as a man might make, involuntarily, feeling the nail go through his hands and into the wood.' At the end of the book, Santiago struggles up the hill with the mast on his shoulder, a symbolic echo of Christ carrying the cross. Many 'religious' images contribute to this symbolic pattern, while other patterns of symbolism center on baseball and dreams of youth.
    The book's simple plot contains some element of suspense, but above all, the book lives in its beautiful imagery, the poetic evocation of the sea, and the admirable character of the old man.

    Few writers have been more sensitive to nature, to the depths and the strengths of human character, and to the tragedy and the glory of human experience than Hemingway. All of his work is grounded in basic timeless values: courage, precision, skill, honor, honesty, and dignity. Much of his writing is profoundly religious, deeply spiritual but never preachy. Hemingway always examines the truth of experience, however dark or violent it may be; he does not deny the reality of evil and suffering and death, but he is equally concerned with the human struggle to transcend difficulty through the values and conduct that provide redemption.
    Many readers will approach Hemingway with reservations about the violent and 'macho' reputation of his work. The Old Man and the Sea does depict the violence inherent in nature and also contains some passages that could be considered sexist. For example, in an extended ****phor comparing the sea to a woman, Hemingway writes: '...the old man always thought of [the sea] as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favors, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought.' But overall Hemingway's vision and his values are positive and appropriate to all human beings.

    1. Discuss the baseball imagery in the book. What does the 'great DiMaggio' symbolize? What does the 'bone spur' symbolize?
    2. When Santiago was a boy, he saw 'lions on the beaches' in Africa. What do these lions symbolize? Why does he dream about Africa and the lions every night?
    3. What is the difference, according to Santiago, between those who think of the sea as 'la mar' and those who speak of it as 'el mar'?
    4. Discuss some of the things Santiago knows about nature, and the details he reads in the behavior of the birds and fish. How did he learn these things?
    5. When Santiago catches the albacore, he 'hit him on the head for kindness.' Discuss this scene and Santiago's 'kindness' in general.
    6. Santiago says he is 'not religious,' but he says his prayers regularly and promises to make a pilgrimage if he catches the fish. Discuss Santiago's religious feeling, both his natural piety and his Catholic piety.
    7. Why is 'no one worthy of eating' the great marlin?
    8. In one of the book's most important passages, Santiago thinks, 'But it is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers.' How do you interpret this statement?

    1. Analyze in detail the relationship between Santiago and Manolin.
    2. The main theme of the book is summed up in the single sentence: 'A man can be destroyed but not defeated.' Discuss in detail the meaning of this theme and the ways in which the book develops and illustrates the idea.
    3. Compare Santiago's feeling about the sharks with his feeling about all the other creatures in the book.
    4. Analyze in detail the old man's relationship with the marlin. Discuss his love, respect, and pity for it, and his determination to kill it. In how many ways are the man and fish 'joined together'?
    5. Discuss Santiago as a Christ-figure. Be sure to note the specific details that link Santiago with Christian imagery. The pattern of Santiago's experience is suffering and endurance; is it also somehow redemptive?

    In a general sense, all of Hemingway's work is related to The Old Man and the Sea because as his last important work it represents a kind of final credo, a culmination and crystallization of the major themes that inform all his work. More specifically, Hemingway's very early work 'Big Two-Hearted River: Parts I&II,' written some three decades before The Old Man and the Sea, explores related material and themes: in the course of the story about a young man alone in the north woods of Michigan fishing for trout in a small wilderness stream, Hemingway examines the important themes of humankind's relationship with nature and the question of human suffering and endurance. But strictly speaking, 'Big Two-Hearted River' should be seen as the final chapter in the story-cycle In Our Time, which deals primarily with the growth of Nick Adams. Many other Hemingway stories and novels examine related subject matter and themes: nature and people's place in nature; fishing and hunting; relationships between a young protagonist and an older, wiser character. Examples of these works include 'Indian Camp,' 'The Battler,' 'My Old Man,' and 'The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.'
    Contributed by: H. R. Stoneback, State University of New York-New Paltz
    Source: Beacham’s Guide to Literature for Young Adults. Copyright by Gale Group, Inc. Reprinted by permission.

  • #2
    Salam my dear sister Noor

    I want to thank you for your participation in this forums

    Really, we need your help in developing the English ability of internet users , especially for second language learners

    I will try to activiate this topic with you


    • #3

      Symbolism of character

      The Old Man and the Sea allows various interpretations. Hemingway emphasizes that
      "No good book has ever been written that has in it symbols arrived at beforehand and stuck in. ... I tried to make a real old man, a real boy, a real sea and a real fish and real sharks. But if I made them good and true enough they would mean many things"


      • #4
        yes I know that but like what did you mean?


        • #5
          You have to create certain means using your talent to do that, we have to use our creativity


          عذراً, ليست لديك صلاحية لمشاهدة هذه الصفحة