The Old Man And The Sea

INTRODUCTION

This is a famous novel written by American novelist, Ernest Hemingway. It was first published in 1952.When it was featured in Life magazine on September 1952,the literary world was stunned to see that five million copies of the magazine sold out in just two days. For this book, Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. This is a highly readable book, with only 27,000 words, having an unparalleled ability to penetrate the depths of any reader's heart and soul.

THE STORY

This book portrays the struggle and the fight between an unlucky old fisherman, Santiago and a large fish. He was so unlucky that for eighty four grueling days, he was unable to catch even a single fish. And to add fuel to the fire of his misfortune , his own son-like assistant, the young boy, Manolin, was not allowed by his parents to go with Santiago. On the eighty fifth day, Santiago goes far out into the sea and engages in a relentless struggle with that same large fish, a marlin, which has been eluding every attempt by Santiago. At last, bleeding and tired, Santiago manages to harpoon the marlin. However, unable to haul the heavy fish on board, the experienced, old man ties the marlin to the sides of his boat. Santiago, tired after his incessant struggle lasting several days, falls down and goes to a deep sleep. Meanwhile, the predators of the sea, sharks, eats away the tied up marlin's flesh.

When the boat arrived on shore, a group of fishermen and Manolin, discovers the marlin's skeleton as well as the deep-asleep Santiago. Manolin brings him coffee and his favorite newspapers, but the old man was dreaming about the lions of Africa, in an everlasting sleep.

THE SYMBOLISM AND THE MEANING

The symbolic significance of this novel is the portrayal of human life as a battle for supremacy, a struggle for survival, of the undaunted human spirit against all odds and harsh realities of life and nature. Hemingway has amply demonstrated as how every failure and every disappointment, every ridicule can be withstood by a man of indomitable spirit and who cannot accept nothing but ultimate victory.

Conclusion

An outstanding novel of the early fifties, The Old Man and The Sea is a fine depiction of human character and spirit at its indomitable best. This novel had also been made into a movie, in later years, with the brilliant Spencer Tracey acting as Santiago.

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