Imagery And Symbolism In The Old Man And The Sea

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Old man and the sea Lara Bouverie Grade 11
The Old Man and the Sea is a story of the battle between an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago and a large Marlin fish. This is the greatest catch of his life . Santiago has set out to sea every day for 84 days and has come home empty handed. His young apprentice, Manolin, is forbidden to go fishing with him because people say he’s under a spell of bad luck . Manolin must rather fish with successful fishermen. So Santiago must fish alone. He decides to go far out into the Gulf Stream and tells Manolin his plan explaining that his bad luck is over. On the 85th day , at noon a massive marlin takes his bait. The fish pulls the boat for 2 days and 2 nights and the old
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He uses local Cuban fisherman vocabulary eg : la Mar (the sea) which makes the story more realistic.

Imagery and Symbolism :
Hemingway uses symbolism frequently. He compares Santiago to a Christ-like figure who suffered as Christ did. When the sharks attack his precious Marlin Santiago cries “Ay !” Hemingway says this was a noise that a man would make in pain, and he relates it to Christs cry as the nails were driven into his hands.
Lions : Santiago often dreams of lions which he saw on the beaches of Africa when he was a boy. These lions symbolise Santiago’s lost youth and pride.
Sharks: These symbolise the destructive forces of nature and the cruelty of people who criticised and crucified Jesus
The mast : Santiago removes the mast from his boat at the end. This is the symbol of Christ carrying his cross and his suffering. “ He started to climb again and at the top he fell and lay for some time with the mast across his shoulder.”
Themes : The honour in struggle :“ A man can be destroyed but not defeated .”
Pride as a source of greatness and determination. Endurance.
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