The Old Man and the Sea

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The Old Man and the Sea is a novel by Ernest Hemingway for which he won the 1954 Nobel Prize. The story has been interpreted in multiple ways, most prominently as an extended metaphor for the relation between an author and his critics or as a vague Christian allegory.


The story focuses on an old Cuban man named Santiago, whose only friend is a boy called Manolin. The old man is referred to as "the old man" for the majority of the novel. He is an expert fisherman after only the greatest fish, but goes for months without catches. One day, he goes to fish without the boy Manolin. It is a tiresome experience, and he spends much time talking to himself, to the Lord, and to a bird which alights on his fishing line.[1]

He spies a beautiful marlin fish, which he believes he must catch for himself, and is led on a long pursuit which results in the discovery that he cannot carry it onto the boat. He returns to the mainland, thinking of how great the fish is and how nice it would be to have a radio tell him about his favorite baseball player, Joe DiMaggio. On the return trip, the fish is attacked and ruined to a torn and bony carcass by sharks. Upon his return, a couple who does not speak Spanish asks a worker what the fish is. He replies, "shark," trying to explain what happened, and they assume it is a shark. The man returns to his home upset.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea