Hemingway's Philosophy and Themes in the novel "Old man and the Sea”
The first major theme of “The Old man and the Sea” is that there are always two aspects to everyone’s life – positive and negative or good and bad. If he attends to the positive aspects and is hopeful, he can try to struggle and keep busy. This is what makes society an ongoing institution. This can be analyzed by looking at the life of Santiago, the old sailor. Manolin’s parents said that he was salao or most unlucky because he could not catch any fish for many days with the boy.
They sent the boy to some other fisherman. Other fisherman made fun of the Old Man “and he was not angry”. He did not become hopeless, but started in his boat happily and hopefully to catch a big fish.
Santiago went rather too far into the sea and hooked a marlin, a huge fish. This marlin pulled his boat under the water for three days. The cord across his back rubbed it hard. All along this struggle, he remained hopeful and thought of saying his prayers if he caught the fish. His memories of the boy, his baseball tournaments, successful hand-wrestling with a Negro and his dream of the lions coming to the seashore continued to give him inner joy. He at last killed marlin with his harpoon. Then the sharks started attacking and eating the flesh of the marlin fastened to his boat. He killed one of them, but lost his harpoon. He felt that “a man can be destroyed but not killed” and went on fighting them. He dismissed the idea that he had committed a sin in killing the marlin whom he loved for its bravery. He overcame his doubts through hope and faith and finally reached Havana with the skeleton of marlin.
Santiago’s victory was physical and moral, not defeat in any sense though his marlin had been badly mutilated by the sharks. His suffering was like Christ’s crucifixion as indicated by his sleeping position at the end. He lay on his bed “face down, his arms straight and the palms of his hands up”. The second theme of the...