Symbolism in the Old Man and the Sea
The style of Ernest Hemingway is very distinctive. The short sentences and repetitions reveal the deep emotions of his main characters. Besides, Hemingway demonstrates that every man no matter how simple he may seem carries a great luggage of philosophical views, concepts and expresses the vast range of feelings. Besides, almost every story of the author is full of symbolical details that can be decoded only after a careful reading. The Old Man and the Sea is not an exception. Moreover, it can be called a quintessence of the author’s symbolism. The plot of the story is poor, there is only one main character and most of his time Santiago spends in the sea. However, every object which surrounds him has a great and complex symbolical meaning.
Sea relates to the novel as setting and a metaphor. The main part of the story happens in the sea. Here it symbolizes the ―universe and the Santiago’s disconnection from the universe, his loneliness. Despite the fact that individuals have their own character in their particular destinations and in particular time, people are powerless in the scale of galaxy and turn out to be distant from everyone else. In Santiago’s town, he has his way of life as an angler and dependably gets the assistance. In this case, it is adrift, that Santiago confronts his definitive challenge, with no help and no acknowledgment. As per Hemingway, man was most ready to substantiate himself commendable in pure and total loneliness. The novel, in such manner, is a case of Naturalism in writing that controls the lives by environment.
While sea is the symbol of loneliness and the universe, Santiago himself symbolizes the Jesus Christ and the way of individuals who don’t care to acknowledge the defeat in their lives. At the point when Santiago battles with Marlin, he demonstrates how prone can be a man towards suffering and pain. Notwithstanding, he bears all these obstacles without whining about it. The author describes that Santiago felt the line painstakingly with his right hand and saw his other hand was bleeding ―shifting the heaviness of the line to the left shoulder, bowing deliberately he washed his hand in the sea and held it there, submerged, for over a moment observing the blood trail away and the relentless development of the water against his hand as the vessel moved. Moreover, the author likewise doesn’t like to acknowledge the defeat, since he truly believes that man was made not for the victorious life or at least for the demonstration of his bravery and desire to live and struggle for it.
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Marlin is the perfect rival of the novel and he symbolizes the last chance that can be provided to people. Here in the novel, Marlin battles to stay away from his passing. Demise is the extreme reality of the lives of all creatures. Radiant and magnificent, the marlin symbolizes the perfect foe. In a world in which “everything kills everything else in some way” (Hemingway), Santiago feels really fortunate to fight against an animal that draws out the best in him: his quality, fearlessness, love, and regard. The lions in Santiago’s fantasies spoke to his lost youth and his diminishing strength and power. For example, when he required quality on his long and strenuous voyage he thought about his longs for the lions, and gets the strength through these dreams. The shovel-nosed sharks are just moving creatures that negligently and clumsily assault the marlin. Represented as rivals of the old man, they remain in striking differentiation to the marlin, which is deserving of Santiago’s exertion and power. They symbolize and exemplify the damaging laws of the universe and validate the way that those laws can be risen above just when equivalents battle until the very end. Since they are base predators, Santiago wins no fame from killing them.
Hemingway manages to include a great symbolical meaning in every object that surrounds the old man. The marlin, the sea and even the man himself are demonstrated as characters with deep inner world. They cannot be investigated only in their direct meaning because it would demonstrate only the partial understanding of such a great story.
Hemingway, Ernest, To Charlie Shribner, and To Max Perkins. “The Old Man and the Sea.” Web.