The old man and the sea

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The Old Man và the Sea, short heroic novel by Ernest Hemingway, published in 1952 and awarded the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It was his last major work of fiction. The story centres on an aging fisherman who engages in an epic battle to catch a giant marlin.


The central character is an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who has not caught a fish for 84 days. The family of his apprentice, Manolin, has forced the boy lớn leave the old fisherman, though Manolin continues to support him with food and bait. Santiago is a mentor khổng lồ the boy, who cherishes the old man và the life lessons he imparts. Convinced that his luck must change, Santiago takes his skiff far out into the deep waters of the Gulf Stream, where he soon hooks a giant marlin. With all his great experience and strength, he struggles with the fish for three days, admiring its strength, dignity, and faithfulness khổng lồ its identity; its destiny is as true as Santiago’s as a fisherman. He finally reels the marlin in & lashes it lớn his boat.

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However, Santiago’s exhausting effort goes for naught. Sharks are drawn khổng lồ the tethered marlin, and, although Santiago manages to lớn kill a few, the sharks eat the fish, leaving behind only its skeleton. After returning to the harbour, the discouraged Santiago goes khổng lồ his home to sleep. In the meantime, others see the skeleton tied lớn his boat and are amazed. A concerned Manolin is relieved to find Santiago alive, and the two agree khổng lồ go fishing together.

Analysis & reception

The Old Man & the Sea contains many of the themes that preoccupied Hemingway as a writer và as a man. The routines of life in a Cuban fishing village are evoked in the opening pages with a characteristic economy of language. The stripped-down existence of the fisherman Santiago is crafted in a spare, elemental style that is as eloquently dismissive as a shrug of the old man’s powerful shoulders. With age and luck now against him, Santiago knows he must row out “beyond all people,” away from land & into the Gulf Stream, where one last drama would be played out, in an empty arena of sea và sky.

Hemingway was famously fascinated with ideas of men proving their worth by facing & overcoming the challenges of nature. When the old man hooks a marlin longer than his boat, he is tested lớn the limits as he works the line with bleeding hands in an effort lớn bring it close enough to harpoon. Through his struggle, Santiago demonstrates the ability of the human spirit khổng lồ endure hardship và suffering in order to win. It is also his deep love và knowledge of the sea, in its impassive cruelty & beneficence, that allows him to lớn prevail. The essential physicality of the story—the smells of tar & salt & fish blood, the cramp & nausea & blind exhaustion of the old man, the terrifying death spasms of the great fish—is mix against the ethereal qualities of dazzling light and water, isolation, & the swelling motion of the sea. And through it all, the narrative is constantly tugging, unreeling a little more, and then pulling again, all in tandem with the old man’s struggle. It is a story that demands lớn be read in a single sitting.

The Old Man & the Sea was an immediate success và came lớn be regarded as one of Hemingway’s finest works. It was cited when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. A hugely popular film adaptation starring Spencer Tracy was released in 1958.