1. ejan1

    ejan1 New Member

    Feb 20, 2008
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    Old Man and the Sea analysis

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by ejan1, Feb 20, 2008.


    I am currently taking English 112 online. Taking this fast-paced class has been harder than what I thought and with practically no tutoring. Even worse. On top of that, my primary language is not English No that it is an excuse, just that it is a bit harder than it would for a native, I think.

    Anyways, I am working on this essay, which i have not finished yet. Could anyone tell me if I am on the right track? I if I am on the right path or completely lost, if it is coherent, and catchy introduction, is there any paragraph or idea that is not clear?, and all the stuff English teachers look in an essay. This is suppoused to be a 8-12 pages essay and this is a rough draft of what I have so far.

    My thesis, very simple, is to prove that The Old Man and the Sea is still relevant because people identify with the old man. I will appreciate any feedback and suggestions to improve it.

    Thank you.

    Edith Jan
    Jane Mill
    English 112I
    17 February 2008

    An Old Man's Struggles in a Sea of Adversity​

    “Fish...I’ll stay with you until I am dead,” said Santiago (51). So great was his determination not to let go of the fish, even if that required the greatest sacrifice of all. To kill the fish would mean to overcome adversity and regain hope and confidence in himself and life. Undoubtedly, The Old Man and the Sea is one of the greatest masterpiece of Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest writers of our time, who was born in July 21, 1899, in Illinois (Kaul). His novel won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1952. He also received a Nobel Prize of Literature in 1954 (CNN). The book was written in Cuba where its political transition and social struggle in the 1940 and 1950s probable influenced Hemingway. Some critics have interpreted this novel as Hemingway being the old man, the marlin his literary work, and the sharks are the critics. Others see it as a “western saga of humanity's recurrent battle against the forces of nature that test personal worth and validate the right to existence... or simply as a psychological battle within a self-contradictory human whose actions reveal noble and ignoble impulses” (Brenner 10), and others may even say that it represents a religious metaphor of Jesus Christ. What is clear is that The Old Man and the Sea illustrates human determination and growth throughout hardship in life and is still relevant today because people from different backgrounds can identify with Santiago and his struggle.[/INDENT]Santiago struggled. He was “an old man who fished alone” and who had not catch a fish for eighty-four straight days (9). On top of this, his young disciple and friend, Manolin, whom he loved, was not allowed to fish with him during the last days because his parents told him the old man was salao. People started giving up on Santiago. He was losing respect and credibility as a human being and as a fisherman, and this made Santiago feel defeated just like his flag in his boat. “Everything about [Santiago] was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated” (10). But deep inside, Santiago knew was not defeated. “His hope and his confidence had never gone” (13). Many people has felt the same way in Cuba and around the world feeling to some extent abandoned for the one who should have looked after them, be it God or a political leader, feeling frustrated because of their poor living conditions and the corruption of the government, yet they managed remain hopeful and cheerful.

    Santiago was humble. “He was too simple to wonder where he had attained humility, but he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of true pride” (14). He lived humbly in a shack, he used his trousers as a pillow, he used newspaper as bed sheets that “covered the springs of the bed” (24). Some fishermen made fun of him, yet he would not get angry or say a word about it. Santiago was a very poor man, and maybe this is the source of his humility, but hey knew that these things would not lessened his value as a human being. Santiago was a role model and a hero for Manolin, who believed he was the best fisherman. This brought Santiago happiness and a reason to feel proud about. Although some people become prideful because of their riches and their fame, there is nothing that could bring more fulfillment than to know one is important and relevant for someone else, this is where true pride has its foundation.

    Santiago tried to make the best out of life despite of the circumstances. When Manolin asked Santiago what he had to eat Santiago replied there was a “pot of yellow rice with fish” (16). Both Santiago and Manolin “went through this fiction every day. There was no pot of yellow rice and fish and the boy knew this”(16). Just as Santiago and Manolin, one has pretended that things are better than they really are because it is of no use to think otherwise. It makes life harder and difficult to bear.

    Santiago had dignity. On the eighty-five day of bad luck, Santiago sailed out further than anyone has every done before. He felt that day was his lucky day, yet he preferred to be exact rather than lucky (8). Santiago prefers to do a good job, and be admired for his own merits and not for his luck, even if that means not catching anything. He knows that he is capable of doing a good job as old as he is and wants people to recognize that ( Jim Auer 36). To be acknowledged for who we are and what we are capable of is crucial to someone's emotional and psychological well-being. To attribute our achievements to luck deteriorates one's self-esteem and values as human beings.
    Santiago was compassionate. He expressed feeling pity “for the great fish he had hooked” (13). In Santiago's eyes, all living creatures were his brothers, even the stars in the sky. A part of him saddened him to have to kill him, but he knew there was no other way. One cannot change destiny nor circumstances. He saw the fish as his brothers in the adversities that both had to face in a turbulent and capricious sea. Not killing the marlin, at that point, would have meant his soul's death, for Santiago it was vital to prove his worth. “'I’ll kill him though, he said. In all his greatness and his glory. Although it is unjust, he thought. But I will show him what a man can do and what a man endures” (18).

    (Part of Conclusion)
    Hemingway undoubtedly witnessed the struggle of the people in Cuba to survive, and how in spite of the harsh situation they were friendly, joyous and had a positive attitude. To think that someone in such deplorable condition tries to make the best out of it must have struck Hemingway. Just like in The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago, the fisherman, struggles in a sea of violence and uncertainty, but he never lets go of the fish nor of his faith in better days to come.

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