Essay title: Old Man and the Sea
â€œWe canâ€™t ever go back to old things or try and get the â€?old kickâ€™ out of something or find things the way we remembered them. We have as we remember them and they are fine and wonderful and we have to go on and have other things because the old things are nowhere except in our minds nowâ€. ( Michael Palin 256) That was said by Hemingway to Bill Horne in 1923, itâ€™s writing like this from Hemingway that has made him into such a great writer.
Ernest Hemingway's novel "The Old Man and the Sea" is considered to be his last, and often his greatest, literary work. â€œShenandoah Magazine called Hemingwayâ€™s Novel the best, time may show it to be the best single piece of any of us.â€(Baker 503-504) â€œThe Old Man and the Sea was an enormous success for Ernest Hemingway when it was published in 1952.
At first glance, the story appears to be an extremely simple story of an old Cuban fisherman (Santiago), who catches an enormously large fish then loses it again. But, there's much more to the story than that…
The short novel, recounts the trials of an elderly Cuban fisherman who is thrown into an exhausting life-or-death struggle of wills when he hooks an unmatchable marlin.â€(James Topham) When questioned about the presence of symbols in the novel, Hemingway maintained that "There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man.
The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know."(Cuba). Hemingway also said that to be a great writer â€œ A writer, if he is any good, does not describe.
He invents or makes out of knowledge personal and impersonal and sometimes he seems to have unexplained knowledge which could come from forgotten racial or family experience. Who teaches the homing pigon to fly as he does?…â€ (Oâ€™Connor 99). I think what he said is true and without that thinking he had he may have not of been the great writer he is today. Despite the short length of the story and what Hemingway claims, the pages are packed full of symbols and themes open to interpretation.
From the beginning sentence to the very end, Hemingway employs a very basic, honest approach to storytelling using efficiently minimalist language to deliver a complex and engaging tale of pride, struggle, defeat and resolution.One ever-present symbol in Hemingway's novel is the sea. It represents the vast, limitless stage of life and the unpredictability of the world that surrounds it.
Even more so, the sea represents Santiago's eternal friend and enemy. The man is at ease with the sea and her unpredictability even though he is at her will, for she provides the opportunities that rule his existence and livelihood and he understands that. The same is true if you view the sea and the novel itself as parallels for life; those who are living have no choice but to weather the tides and storms of time, and can only learn to accept that which comes to them. The sea here in the novel also stands for nature, love and freedom. "He always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her.
Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman" (Hemingway 29). What this means is that in Santiagoâ€™s eyes the sea stands for a beautiful woman full of love and gentleness, and she is a merciful mother, who nurtures all the sea creatures, the flying bird, the fishermen as well as Santiago. But on the other hand, the sea also symbolizes cruelty and unpredictability of nature and fate. "Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel?…But she can be so cruel and it comes so.