Convinced that his luck must change, Santiago takes his skiff far out into the deep waters of the Gulf Stream, where he soon hooks a giant marlin. Summary of the Novel At only 27,000 words, The Old Man and the Sea is a fairly short novel. He is moral, determined, and has an incredible amount of physical strength. Although he has gone 84 days without catching a fish, he does not give up. This is not a first time occurrence. This simple pastime contrasted greatly with the turbulent events of his life that preceded his time in Cuba.
Ernest Hemingway converted to Catholicism partway through his life. He has to hold onto the line with all his might so that the marlin does not break free from the boat. He waited for the fish to really take the bait and swallow the hook before he began to reel him in. The two friends speak for a while, then Manolin leaves briefly to get food. The boy fetches the old man some coffee and the daily papers with the baseball scores, and watches him sleep.
Which is a ton of money for the old man. But she can be so cruel. He had morals that were strict and an appreciation for instinct and human nature. It is a story that demands to be read in a single sitting. In addition to the theme of struggle, The Old Man and the Sea has many biblical themes.
This is what keeps him going. Santiago then pulls out a paper and the two discuss baseball, speaking with great enthusiasm of Joe DiMaggio. Many years before, when the hero was young, he used to sail ships to Africa. Manolin and Santiago talk baseball for a while, and the boy then leaves to be woken in the morning by the old man. Eat them good now and then there is the tuna. Santiago battles the sharks unsuccessfully.
While the other men have many workers and helpers who hold several lines, Santiago has three lines all operated by his own hand. Recalling his exhaustion, Santiago decides that he must sleep some if he is to kill the marlin. When he arrives at the harbor, everyone is asleep. A cramp had developed in his hand, so after he ate, he tried to adjust the line into the crook of his arm to let his hand rest awhile. Dead beside the skiff, the marlin is the largest Santiago has ever seen. His line began to shake, and the old man was able to reel in a ten-pound albacore.
He rests for a few hours, but is woken by the marlin jumping frantically. He concentrates purely on steering homewards and ignores the sharks that came to gnaw on the marlin's bones. They should pay him back, they think, just as soon as they catch a really, really, ridiculously big fish. The Old Man and the Sea was the last novel Hemingway published before his death. As the shark approaches the boat, Santiago prepares his harpoon, hoping to kill the shark before it tears apart the marlin. At the house, the two rehearse a nightly ritual of speaking about fictitious rice and fish and a cast net. This is his mentality, he knows what he must do and so, he does it.
The problem is that he has no aid. The sharks are a symbol for the other fishermen who think Santiago is bad luck. The slim novel received a lot of critical and commercial success. Santiago wishes he had Manolin with him to help. Which can be debilitating when fishing is your livelihood. Santiago acquiesces and Manolin leaves to fetch food and a shirt.
And in the case of falling overboard or getting lost at sea, there will be no one there to help him. Four hours later the fish continued to pull the old man out to sea. A concerned Manolin is relieved to find Santiago alive, and the two agree to go fishing together. She is kind and very beautiful. This physical struggle is akin to Jesus carrying the cross to the place of his crucifixion. Like good heroes, Santiago does not stick around to brag about his catch, but goes straight home and falls asleep.
They sold the cast net long ago, but they still insist on speaking of it as if it is there. Santiago is awoken by the line rushing furiously through his right hand. The old man feels as if he has more connection with the natural world than with people in his life which is why the lions become a major theme of his dreams Shmoop. Finally, Santiago uses all his strength to harpoon and kill the marlin. A similar type of unexpected equality comes out when Hemingway describes the various ways marlins and sharks are treated on shore. The difference is, this time, there actually is dinner. The old man thought about how the turtles like to eat the Portuguese men-of-war.