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


The main character is an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who has actually not captured a fish for 84 days. The family of his apprentice, Manolin, has compelled the boy to leave the old fisherman, though Manolin proceeds to assistance him with food and also bait. Santiago is a mentor to the boy, that cherishes the old man and the life lessons that imparts. Convinced that his luck should change, Santiago take away his skiff far out into the deep waters the the Gulf Stream, where he soon hooks a large marlin. V all his an excellent experience and also strength, he struggles with the fish for 3 days, admiring that is strength, dignity, and also faithfulness come its identity; that is destiny is as true together Santiago’s as a fisherman. He finally reels the marlin in and also lashes it come his boat.


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However, Santiago’s exhausting effort goes because that naught. Sharks are attracted to the tethered marlin, and, although Santiago manages to kill a few, the sharks eat the fish, leaving behind just its skeleton. After return to the harbour, the discouraged Santiago goes to his home to sleep. In the meantime, others view the skeleton tied come his boat and also are amazed. A involved Manolin is relieved to find Santiago alive, and the 2 agree to walk fishing together.

Analysis and also reception

The Old Man and the Sea contains many the the themes the preoccupied Hemingway as a writer and also as a man. The routines that life in a Cuban fishing town are evoked in the opened pages with a characteristic economy of language. The stripped-down presence of the fisherman Santiago is do in a spare, elemental style that is as eloquently dismissive as a shrug that the old man’s powerful shoulders. Through age and luck now versus him, Santiago knows he have to row out “beyond all people,” far from land and also into the Gulf Stream, whereby one last drama would be play out, in an north arena of sea and sky.

Hemingway was famously fascinated with principles of men proving their worth by facing and overcoming the obstacles of nature. When the old man hooks a marlin longer than his boat, that is tested to the boundaries as he works the line v bleeding hands in an initiative to lug it close enough to harpoon. V his struggle, Santiago displayed the capacity of the person spirit to endure hardship and also suffering in order come win. It is likewise his deep love and also knowledge the the sea, in that impassive cruelty and also beneficence, that allows him come prevail. The crucial physicality the the story—the smells the tar and salt and also fish blood, the cramp and nausea and also blind exhaustion of the old man, the terrifying death spasms of the good fish—is collection against the ethereal qualities of dazzling light and also water, isolation, and also the swelling motion of the sea. And through it all, the rigid is constantly tugging, unreeling a small more, and also then pulling again, every in tandem with the old masculine struggle. That is a story that needs to be review in a solitary sitting.

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The Old Man and also the Sea to be an instant success and also came to be related to as among Hemingway’s finest works. It was cited once he winner the Nobel compensation for literary works in 1954. A hugely well-known film adaptation certification Spencer Tracy was released in 1958.