Some believe to live is to suffer, and in Hemingway’s “The Old Man And The Sea” this philosophy is dealt with and viewed in many situations. In this poignant short novel Ernest Hemingway beautifully illustrates the trials and tribulations of everyday man, through Santiago’s struggle at sea. The old man’s adventure with the marlin is one of loss, pride, and achievement all combined into one emotional fight for life itself. Hemingway’s use of allegory in “The Old Man And The Sea” establishes many deeper aspects that man struggles with in everyday life. The numerous hardships and battles Santiago encounters on the sea can be viewed as conflicts man is forced to deal with in his lifetime.Order now
A use of symbolism that proves an example of struggle in life is seen when the old man reflects on Manolin. When Santiago is at sea and hooks the great fish he feels he needs the virile power of the young boy to catch the marlin. Manolin the young boy often helped the old man on other fishing ventures, but he does not have him then and reflects on this in this quote “But you haven’t got the boy he thought. You have only yourself, and you had better work back to the last line now, in the dark, and cut it and hook up the two reserve coils.”1. This quote is symbolic of making due in life with what you have.
Santiago does not have Manolin’s help; therefore he must struggle and catch the great fish on his own. Many times in one’s life we are not given every advantage to ease our pain and suffering when one is striving for achievement. The old man does not allow in pity for not having Manolin, but rather is very rational about the situation. This represents the fact that in life one must move on and put great effort into tasks that are seemingly impossible when done independently. The absence of Manolin places emphasis on dealing with struggle when man has little to fight with.
As Hemingway uses other figures to establish struggle, he also utilizes Santiago’s inner thoughts as symbolism.
In amidst the battle at sea with the old man and the marlin he has a great revelation. This excerpt is Santiago’s opinion on his battle with the fish “But he seems calm, he thought, and following his plan. But what is his plan, he thought. And what is mine? Mine I must improvise because of his great size. If he will jump I can kill him. But he stays down forever.
Then I will stay down with him forever.”2. This quote is an excellent summation of one of the main ideals of “The Old Man And The Sea”. Through allegory Hemingway establishes the fact that life is unpredictable. Santiago cannot predict the marlin’s actions; therefore he considers possible scenarios and his reactions to them. This is similar to how in life one cannot truly know the actions of other people, but one only knows his own actions.
This quote also shows how in life a person receives both the good and the bad. In one scenario the fish would jump and be caught, but in another the fish would stay down forever as would the old man “The Old Man And The Sea” often represents how greatly the actions of others can impact our lives both negatively and positively.
Although Santiago eventually catches the marlin his triumph is dampened when the sharks ensue on his achievement. This statement shows a shark eating the freshly caught marlin, but possesses a much deeper meaning “The shark’s head was out of water and his back was coming out and the old man could hear the noise of skin and flesh ripping on the big fish when he rammed the harpoon down onto the shark’s head at a spot where the line between his eyes intersected with the line that ran straight back from his nose.” 3. In this quote Santiago is seen defending his accomplishment with great courage and ferocity.
Santiago experienced a personal triumph to catch the great fish, and takes great pride in his prize marlin. This excerpt is allegorical because man is .