The Old Man and the Sea is a novel written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Cuba, and published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction to be produced by Hemingway and published in his lifetime. One of his most famous works, it centers upon Santiago, an aging fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. The Old Man and the Sea was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and was cited by the Nobel Committee as contributing to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Hemingway in 1954.
The Old Man and the Sea | Quick Summary
Santiago is an old man, and many are starting to think that he can no longer fish. He has gone for many months without landing any kind of fish to speak of; and his apprentice, a young man named Manolin, has gone to work for a more prosperous boat. The fisherman sets out into the open sea and goes a little further out than he normally would in his desperation to catch a fish. At noon, a big Marlin takes hold of one of the lines, but the fish is far too big for him to handle.
Hemingway pays great attention to the skill and dexterity that Santiago uses in coping with the fish. Santiago lets the fish have enough line, so that it won't break his pole; but he and his boat are dragged out to sea for three days. Finally, the fish–an enormous and worthy opponent–grows tired; and Santiago kills it. Even this final victory does not end the Santiago's journey; he is a still far, far out to sea. To make matters worse, Santiago drags the Marlin behind the boat (and the blood from the dead fish attracts sharks).
Santiago does his best to beat the sharks away, but his efforts are not enough. The sharks eat the flesh off the Marlin, and Santiago is left with only the bones. Santiago gets back to shore–weary and tired–with nothing to show for his pains but the skeletal remains of a large Marlin. Even with just the bare remains of the fish, the experience has changed him, and altered the perception others have of him. Manolin wakes him the morning after his return and suggests that they once more fish together.
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