The Old Man and the Sea was wrote by the author Ernest Hemingway. Told in great power and simplicity, The Old Man and the Sea is a cuban fisherman with little to no luck when it comes to fishing. Yet what keeps him going is a kid named Manolin and a Marlin fish. Santiago is the name of the old man, and what makes him so happy to catch the marlin is because of his recent unluckiness of not catching a fish for 84 days. There is a strong sense of symbolism in the book, the symbolism is used to tell a story with some sense of relation between Santiago and other objects.
The marlin symbolizes the old man’s life in eneral, meaning without the marlin Santiago would have nothing spectacular to look forward to in his own life. The marlin also resembles the hardships in his life. It took the old man his whole life and many challenges along the way to catch the fish, but after he caught the fish only waiting for him after were three waves of hungry sharks looking for a snack on the marlin. The first wave contained a mako shark he named Dentuso , “I cannot keep him from hitting me but maybe I can get him.
Dentuso, he thought”,(Hemingway, 101). The second wave consisted of two sharks he named Galanos, ” Come on galanos. They came. But they did not come as the Mako had come”, (Hemingway, 108). The third and final wave was just one shovelnose shark, “The next shark that came was a single shovelnose, (Hemingway, 111). The marlin last stands for Santiago’s stunning accomplishments in life. This big catch is the most important thing in his life next to the relationship he has with Manolin.
Christ in The Old Man and the Sea symbolizes pain, suffering and joyfulness. Christ is resembled to the mast that the old man takes back to the shack after each day of fishing. The old man went through the same pain and suffering Christ himself went hrough during the crucifixion, “While Christ’s triumph is over physical death, Santiago triumphs over the dentuso and the galanos, which they destroy the great marlin he caught”,(Wilson Jr. 3).
Christ plays a huge role in the relation to Santiago’s life, as if the eighty seventh day he went fishing god was looking over him when he received the bite from the Marlin. The final resemblance christ has with the old man’s life is the amount of days he went without catching a fish, which relates to a liturgical calendar meaning the “use of christ in liturgical aids”,(Pope Paul VI, 1). The event the eighty days could be compared to upon the hrist is, “The entire Christmas Cycle to the last day of Septuagesima”,(Wilson Jr. ).
Santiago’s symbolism is a father figure towards Manolin. Yet Manolin’s parents don’t want him fishing with Santiago, Manolin has an intense bond with Santiago. Manolin cares for him, like getting food and sometimes running up to the store, “How much did you suffer? “Plenty. ” ‘ll bring the food and the newspapers. The boy said”, (Hemingway, 126). Their bond is strong and stays this way because of the conversations about baseball, “Tell me about baseball,” the boy asked him. “In the American League it is the
Yankees as I said,”the old man said happily”,(Hemingway, 21). Manolin is the only company Santiago has ever had, and he misses Manolin when he fishes alone, “I wish I had the boy, I’m being towed by a big fish and I’m the towing bitt”,(Hemingway, 45). Manolin is the Son Santiago never had. The sharks in The Old Man and the Sea represent pure obliteration. Santiago comes in contact with the sharks after he catches the marlin. The reason for why the sharks represent destructiveness is because of what the sharks have accomplished by tearing up the marlin.
By tearing up the marlin the sharks have crushed Santiago’s one big accomplishment in ife catching an 18 foot marlin stated by the town members, “He was eighteen feet from nose to tail,” the fisherman who was measuring him called”, (Hemingway, 122). Although Santiago did see the sharks as destructive he also admired their beautiful creature like form, “built to swim as fast as the fastest fish in the sea everything about him was beautiful except for his jaws, back was as blue as a swordfish and his belly was silver and his hide was smooth and handsome”,(Hemingway, 100).
The mast is the main symbol for christ. The mast represents the cross Christ was nailed to during the crucifixion. When Santiago is in painful oments he is usually by the mast, whether it is a day of not catching anything or suffering from catching the marlin. His worst luck occurred when he was near the mast on the boat and he was fighting off the sharks trying to attack the marlin,”He did not want to look at the fish, he knew that half of him had been destroyed”, (Hemingway, 114). The lions represent a symbol of youth and freedom.
When Santiago dreams, he dreams of Lion. They make him feel young again, they remind him of a safe, fun place. During his ongoing battle with the marlin he decides to take a nap in order to rest himself he gets calm, to do so he hinks about lions lays, back and lets the marlin do all the work for now,”l wish l could dream about the lions”,(Hemingway, 66). Joe Dimaggio symbolizes Santiago’s idol. Joe Dimaggio has no connection with Santiago, yet Santiago talk about Dimaggio so much it’s as if he could be Joe’s brother.
During any action or event he somehow relates himself to Joe, especially during his big fishing trip with the marlin,”Do you believe the great Joe Dimaggio would stay with a fish as long as I will stay with this one? “,(Hemingway, 68). The lost harpoon symbolizes emptiness and lost lives out on the sea. Santiago takes on his first shark ith a harpoon, the harpoon rope gets snapped and is no longer in his own grasp,”The water was white where his tail beat it and three-quarters of his body was clear above the water when the rope came taut, shivered and then snapped”, (Hemingway, 102).
The reason for the strong sense of emptiness is because once Santiago has no weapon, nothing to protect him he is defenseless like an empty person standing there with no importance,”He took my harpoon too and all the rope”, (Hemingway 103). There is an immense impression of symbolism in The Old Man and the Sea, the comparison between Santiago and other items is used to show a similar trait hared. The marlin represents the old man’s life summed up as a whole. Christ symbolizes pain and suffering with joyfulness.
Santiago portrays a father figure towards Manolin, the sharks represent destructive and aggressiveness towards Santiago’s caught marlin. The mast renders Christ’s own cross, the lions Santiago dreams about represent youth, freedom. Joe Dimaggio symbolizes Santiago’s idol, and the lost harpoon represents emptiness. Santiago has finally met his big day where he catches his marlin, with the help of the symbolistic objects, how would you feel fishing on a boat with objects that can relate so much to you?