The Old Man And The Sea: Chapter 2 - Summary & Analysis

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Section II
The Old Man’s Struggle with the Marlin


Precise Fishing Technique

      It was the eighty-fifth day. The Old Man was still confident. He knew that he was going far out. He left the smell of the land behind and rowed out into the clear early morning smell of the ocean. Before it began to be light he had already thrown his baits out and was drifting easily along with the current. One bait was down to forty fathoms. The second was at seventy-five and the third and fourth were down in the blue water at one hundred and one hundred and twenty-five fathoms. Each bait hung head down with the shark of the hook inside the bait fish. All the projecting parts of the hook were covered with fresh sardines. The baits were such that a great fish would find the bait sweet smelling and good tasting. Each fishing line was as thin as a pencil and was looped into a green sapped stick so that any pull or touch on the bait would make the stick-dip. Each line had two forty fathom coils. He kept a close watch over them and rowed gently to keep the lines straight up and down and at their proper depths. There was enough light now and the sun would be rising shortly.

Santiago’s Identification with Nature

      Santiago was very fond of the flying fish as they were his favorite friends. He feels sorry for the birds pitted against the sea which is sometimes cruel and sometimes kind. After the sun rose, he saw a man of war circling the sky and was instantly alert as he knew that the presence of man of war showed the presence of other big fish. He saw the flying fish speed out of the water and sail desperately over. Instantly he knew that dolphins were nearby. And he was right as he saw big dolphin following the escaping fish. It was a big shoal of dolphins but he soon lost them. However, he thinks that maybe he would be able to pick up a stray or else other big fish would be somewhere around.

The Albacore or Tuna

      Santiago then came across, plankton. He was happy to see so much plankton because it meant fish. The bird went out of sight and then he saw a Portuguese man-of-war floating close beside the boat. It was floating cheerfully with its long deadly purple filaments trailing and the Old Man calls it Aguamala meaning you whore. Then the Old Man saw the bird circling again, obviously having found fish again. He then saw a shoal of tuna. He rowed towards them and was able to catch a big tuna. The albacore was about ten pounds and would make an excellent bait.

Hooked a Marlin

      The Old Man talked to himself and thought about baseball as the sun turned hot and he began to sweat. He thought of simply drifting but it was his eighty-fifth day and he knew he had to fish well. Suddenly he saw one of the projecting green sticks dip sharply. He held the line softly between the thumb and forefingers of his right hand: He knew that at a hundred fathoms a marlin was tasting the; sardines that covered the hook. He held the line delicately and thought that the fish must be huge. A few moments later Santiago felt as though the fish were moving away but then he felt the gentle pulling touch on the line again and was reassured.

The Marlin Tows Santiago’s Boat

      Santiago felt a heavy pull on the line. The marlin was hooked. He let the line slip, uncoiling one of the two reserve coils. As the line went down, slipping through his fingers lightly, he felt the weight of the fish. He knew it was a huge fish and let him eat the bait properly so that the point of the hook went into his heart and killed him. When he was satisfied that the hook was properly inside the marlin, he gave a yank and tried to pull the Marlin in but nothing happened. Rather the marlin began to move away towards the northwest towing the boat along with it. The other baits were still in the water but there was nothing to be done. He wished, the boy were with him. He says, I’m being towed by a fish And I’m the towing bitt. I could make the line fast. But then he could break it. I must hold him and give him line when he must have it. Thank god he is traveling and not going down. Santiago wondered what he would do if the marlin went down or if he died. He didn’t know but he was confident that he would be able to do something.

The Marlin Held on Through the Night

      The Old Man had thought that the marlin wouldn’t be able to keep towing the boat. Four hours later, the marlin was still going strong. The marlin had been hooked at noon but Santiago had not seen it as yet and night was coming on. He drank some water and rested. Then he saw that he had come far away from the shore. No land was visible. Santiago hoped the fish would come up soon, with the moon or with the sunrise but the fish never changed his course nor his direction throughout the night. It became cold as night fell and Santiago tried to find a more comfortable position but it was only somewhat less (intolerable) but he thought of it as almost comfortable. Santiago thought “I can do nothing with him and he can do nothing with me.”

Thinks of the Boy

      The Old Man was steadily being towed by the fish and he thought about baseball and how it came out in the grand leagues that day. He thought of having a radio then berated himself not to do anything stupid. Then he wished the boy were there to help him and see the fight, thinking that no one should be alone in their old age. He reminds himself to eat the tuna before it got spoilt and also to keep his strength.

Memories of Previous Marlins Caught

      During the night two porpoises came around the boat and he could hear them rolling and blowing. He knew they were a male and a female and he thought that they were good, they played, joked and loved one another. “They are own brothers like the Flying Fish.” He began to pity the strong marlin that he had hooked. It was a strong, wonderful and wise fish. The marlin could easily ruin the Old Man. He kept calming steadily pulling as though he knew how to make his fight. The Old Man thought of its market value and wondered if the fish had any plans or it was just as desperate as he was. He remembered when he had caught a female marlin and how the female had stayed close to her all the time until finally jumping into the air and looking at her lying on the boat went deep into the sea. The boy had accompanied him then and now too he wished he were with him.

The Struggle Starts

      The Old Man reflects on his and the marlin’s choices. The marlin’s choice had been to stay in the deep dark water far out beyond all snares and traps and treacheries. The Old Man’s choice had been to go there and to find him. Now they were joined together and no one could help either of them. He had been pulled throughout the night. Sometime before daylight his other bait was also taken. He cut it away the bait together with all other baits and working skillfully with one arm he tied all the reserve coils together. He did so because he couldn’t take the risk of hooking some other fish that would cut the marlin off. He had to get rid of the other fish on the hook fast. Now he wished for the boy again. But he didn’t have the boy and he was alone. He now cut away the last line and hooked up the two reserve coils. It was difficult in the dark. The fish made a surge that pulled him down and he got cut below his eye. He rested the position of the line on his shoulders. He thought that the marlin couldn’t pull the skiff forever, no matter how great he was and he told the fish, “Fish, I’ll stay with you until I am dead,” and then thought that most probably the fish would stay with him. The boat was moving steadily as the sun rose. The fish was heading north and if he turned with the current it would show that he was turning but the sun rose further and still the fish had not tired. But he was now swimming at a lesser depth and there was the possibility that he would jump. He told the Marlin “Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.”

The Warbler

      A Warbler, flying very low over the water came towards the skiff from the north. The bird was tired. As he rested on the line, he talks to the bird. He asked it, its age and invited it to stay for as long as he liked. The fish gave a sudden luck as he liked. The fish gave a sudden lurch and he would have been pulled overboard, if he had not controlled the situation. The bird flew away and the Old Man saw that his right hand was bleeding. Something had also hurt the Marlin. He looked for the bird because he wished for some company, but it had flown away. Again he wished for the presense of the boy.

Cramped Left Hand

      He dipped his hurt hand into salt water. But he took it out quickly as he was afraid that the fish would lurch again. He needed his hand to catch the fish and dried it in the sun. He then cut the tuna into wedge-shaped strips. He felt the steady and hard pull on the line. His left hand was cramped. Then he conscientiously ate the fish to strengthen his hand and he thought that he would eat all the tuna and be ready for the marlin. ‘God help me have the cramp go,’ he said. Because I do not know what the fish is going to do.’ However it was still cramped. He then thinks it was because he abused it during the night, while cutting and splicing the lines.

Alone at Sea with Nature

      The Old Man looked across the sea and knew how alone he was. Then he looked at the deep dark water and further ahead saw a flight of wild ducks and then he knew that no man was ever alone on the sea. He looked at the clouds and thought that it was good weather for him. His left hand was still cramped and he thought how humiliating it was especially when he was alone. He wished that the boy was with him and would loosen it by rubbing it.

The Marlin Comes Up

      The Old Man saw a sudden change in the water. He slapped his left hand and tried to uncramp it. Then the line rose slowly and steadily and the surface of the ocean bulged ahead of the boat and the fish came out.

      The marlin was bright in the sun, dark purpled colored with light lavender stripes on his sides. His sword was as long as a baseball bat and tapered like a rapier. It was two feet longer than Old Man’s skiff as it rose and fall into the sea as smoothly as a diver. The Old Man watched his scythe-blade like tail and thought how the fish could break the line if he realized his own strength. The Old Man thinks now “If I were him I would put in everything now and go until something broke. But, thank god, they are not as intelligent as we who kill them; although they are more noble and more able. The Old Man had seen many fish but had never caught such a fish, bigger than he had ever seen or heard all alone. Then he wondered why he had jumped. May be to show how big he was. He wished that the fish could see what sort of man he was. In the end he prayed, “Blessed Virgin, pray for the death of this fish. Wonderful though he is”.

Not Religious But Offers Prayers

      The Old Man settled comfortably and took his suffering. By noon his left hand became uncramped and he told the fish that this was bad news for him. He was still suffering though he did not admit it. He offered to pray though he was not religious. He promises to say ten owe Fathers and ten Hail Marys and to make a pilgrimage to the Virgin de Cobre if he caught the fish. He began to pray mechanically. In the end, he prayed, “Blessed Virgin, pray for the death of this fish. Wonderful though he is” and felt better though still suffering a lot. The sun was hot now and he thought of food again. And he says to himself that I’ll kill him though in all his greatness and his glory. Although it is unjust. But I will show him what a man can do and what a man endures. I told the boy I was a strange Old Man. Now is when I must prove it. He had already proved it a thousand times but it did not matter. He was proving it again and each time he did so was a new time. He wished that the marlin would sleep so that he could sleep too. Then he told himself to rest, to work as little as possible since the marlin was working.

Still at the Struggle, Various Rememberance

      It was afternoon and the fish was still towing the boat steadily. Later the line rose but the fish only continued to swim at a slightly higher level. The Old Man pictured the marlin swimming in the water. His left hand was completely uncramped now but he was tired and he thought of the marlin saying to himself. ‘If you are not tired, fish, you must be very strange,”. Night was coming and he began to think of baseball. It was the second day with the fish and he did not know the results. But he reassured himself thinking that he must have confidence and be worthy of the great baseball star DiMaggio who did everything perfectly even though he had the pain caused by a bone spur in his heel. Then he wondered how painful it could be and compared it to the spur of a fighting cock. But he thought he would not be able to fight after losing his eyes like the fighting cock do and concluded that “Man is not much besides the great birds and beasts.” Still he would prefer to be the marlin unless sharks came. Then he said “God pity him and me.” As night approached he remembered the time when as a young man he had fought a great Negro at hand wrestling. To give himself confidence he remembered how he and the Negro had fought for one day and one night. Their elbows were on the chalk line untill he won. Everyone had called him the champion for a long time. He did not play much after the return match the next spring and then no more because he found he could beat anyone if he wanted too and anyway using his right? hand so bad for fishing. He tried with his left hand but the left hand would not do what he wished. It was a traitor and he, therefore, did not trust it.

Reflections about the Marlin

      The small line that he had thrown earlier hooked a dolphin. He caught it and hauled it in, rebaited the hook with a sardine and threw it into the water again. The dolphin would be his food for the next day. The sun set, but the marlin had not charged at all but it had become slower. He thought of his advantage and the disadvantages of the marlin. He had a pain from the cord across his back but his hand was not cramped. His other hand had only a small cut. His legs were fine and he also had food. However, the marlin had not eaten since long and he was huge and needed large amount of food. Then the Old Man was sorry for the fish as it had nothing to eat but his determination to kill him did not relax. He wondered how many people the marlin would feed but then he reflected that the people were not worthy to eat him from the manner of his behavior and his dignity. But he had to kill the marlin even though he was his true brother. He thinks how much of a punishment being hungry must be and how much of a greater punishment it must be to fight against something that he did not comprehend.

Rest and Sleep

      After resting for about two hours he began to put the strain of the fish on the skiff itself. He thought how simple it would be if he could simply make the line fast but then one lurch could break it. He had to be ready but he had not slept since he hooked the fish and it had been more than half a day and a night and another day that he had not slept. But his head was clear. Still he had to sleep. He could go without sleeping but lack of sleep would be too dangerous.

Eats the Dolphin and Dreams of the Lions

      Working his way carefully to the stern he gutted the dolphin. He found two flying fish, fresh and intact inside. He cut up the dolphin and washed the flying fish. The marlin had slowed considerably. The Old Man felt that the fish might be tired or resting and decides to eat, rest and get some sleep himself. He ate the dolphin and thought what a miserable fish it was eaten raw though it was excellent when cooked. He then told himself to set the rig and get some sleep while the fish was calm and pulling steady. Then he slept and dreamt first of a vast shoal of porpoises, then that he was in his village. Then he saw the long yellow beach and the lions and he was happy. He slept on as the fish pulled steadily taking the boat into a tunnel of clouds.

The Marlin Jumps

      The Old Man woke up as there was a jerk on the line and his right fist came against his face, and the line burned through his right hand. His left hand was numb and he tried to hold the line with his right hand. Finally, his left hand found the line and he leaned back against the line and it burned his back. His left hand took all the strain and was cut. The fish then jumped bursting out of the ocean. Then he jumped again and again. He strained the line to breaking point. The dolphin was unable to move. He could not see the fish and the racing line was cutting into his palm. He remembered the boy who would have wetted the coils if he had been there. The line slowed and he was able to get on to his feet. He thought why the fish had jumped. It was good since with his air sacs filled and he couldn’t go deep down to die. He would start circling soon. He wondered if hunger had made the fish desperate or else he had been frightened by something during the night. Or maybe the marlin suddenly felt fear but this was strange as the marlin was a calm, strong and confident fish. The Old Man told himself to be fearless and confident and waited for the marlin to begin circling for then the true fight between them would begin.

The Marlin Begins to Circle

      The Old Man ate one of the flying fish and waited for the marlin to circle. The marlin did so when the sun rose for the third time since he had been at the sea. As the fish circled the line began to come in. He pulled this in steadily and gently trying to use more of his body and legs and less of his hands. Then the line stopped coming in and started out. He let it go knowing that the strain would shorten marlins circles and maybe the fish would tire in an hour. But the fish continued circling and two hours later the Old Man was exhausted. However, the circles were much shorter now. For an hour the Old Man had been seeing black spots before his eyes. Once he had felt faint and dizzy. This worried him. He prayed that God might help him endure as he could not fail and die on a fish like the marlin.

The Marlin Fights Back

      The Old Man felt a sudden banging and jerking on the line which was sharp, hard and heavy. The fish behaved as though he were going to jump. But the old man wanted that he should not stay circling because the jumps may widen the opening of the hook and the marlin can sometimes throw the hook. The Old Man began to gain line as the marlin stopped beating around and started circling again. However, he felt faint and put some water on his head and rubbed his neck. The Old Man felt more tired than he had ever been but he had to last and he decided to rest on the next turn when the marlin went out. He was also confident that after two or three turns, he would have the marlin.

The Marlin Harpooned

      The sea had risen. But the breeze predicted fair weather which he needed it for his return journey. Then he saw the fish and was surprised by its great size. It came to the surface thirty feet away from the boat. It was so big that its tail was higher than a big scythe blade. The line was coming in now and the Old Man was sure that after two more circles he would be close enough to harpoon the fish. But he had to aim for the heart and not for the head. He had already rigged his harpoon and it was ready. The marlin circled calm and beautiful and the Old Man pulled all he could to make him come closer. He felt faint and yet he held on. However, when he put all his efforts together trying to pull the fish alongside, the marlin pulled away and righting himself and swam away. The Old Man felt as though the fish were trying to kill him too. But that would be useless. He was exhausted and he thought “You are killing me, fish. But you have a right to. Never, have I seen a greater or more beautiful, or calmer or more noble thing than you, brother, come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who.” At this though the Old Man warned himself to keep his head clear. As the fish came near he tried repeatedly to harpoon the fish but the marlin righted himself and swam away everytime. Finally, lifting the harpoon as high as he could he drove it into the fish with all his might. As he felt the harpoon’s iron go into the fish he leaned on it and pushed it deeper. With this the marlin came to life. He jumped out of the water, high into the air and then seemed to hang there for a moment before crashing back into the water, sending spray all over the Old Man and the skiff. The Old Man felt faint and sick and he could not see properly. Then he saw the shaft of the harpoon projecting from the marlin’s side and he saw the blood of the fish discoloring sea water. The fish was silvery and still and floated with the waves. Then the Old Man says, ‘I am a tired Old Man. But I have killed this fish which is my brother and now I must do the work of the slave.’

Homeward Bound with His Victory

      The Old Man had finally killed the marlin. He had now to bring him in, lash him alongside and sail for home. This was a difficult task ever if there were two of them. He couldn’t have loaded the marlin as the skiff was small and would never hold him. He wanted to feel the fish also. But he couldn’t pull him in. The Old Man, therefore, pulled the skiff towards the fish instead. The Old Man couldn’t believe the size of the fish. He wâs feeling better and he calculated that the fish would weight over fifteen hundred pounds, maybe more. Then he tried to calculate how much two-thirds of the marlin would fetch at thirty cents a pound. But his head was not clear enough and for that he needed a pencil. He thought of DiMaggio who would have been proud of him. Then he began to lash the fish making it fast to the bow, stern and the middle thwart. The marlin was so big that it was like lashing a much bigger skiff alongside. After he securely lashed the fish, the patched sail was unfurled and he began to sail south-west. He then wanted something to eat and drink. But his sardines were rotten and he couldn’t find a spoon to gather moisture. The Old Man then caught some shrimps by hooking a patch of yellow gulf weed and pinching off their heads and ate them. They were tiny but tasted good and were nourishing. Then he drank some water. His skiff was sailing well and looking at the fish and he knew that he was not dreaming. At one point he had not believed it and thought he was dreaming. His hands were badly hurt but they would heal quickly. The gulf water would heal them. He needed to keep his head clear. He thought he and the fish were sailing like brothers since he had shut the fish’s mouth and his tail was moving up and down. His head was, however, not clear enough and he thought whether he was bringing the fish in or the fish was bringing him in. He thought so because they were sailing together. He wouldn’t have felt so if he was towing the marlin or if it was in the skiff with, all dignity gone. Then he thought that he was better than the marlin only because of his tricks and he didn’t mind if the fish brought him in. The Old Man kept constantly checking and looking at the fish to make sure that he was not dreaming.

Critical Analysis

Theme of the Old Man’s Endurance and Persistence

      This section comprises the main body of the novel. It is the central section where the action of the novel is concentrated and the theme of the novel is introduced and played out. The section recounts how Santiago the old fisherman goes on fishing looking for a big fish. He hooks a huge marlin. The section is about his prolonged struggle with the fish and his eventual victory over the fish whom he regards to be his enemy but also his brother and friend. Here Hemingway portrays with vivid clarity the Old Man’s stoic endurances, his calm and overwhelming persistence and his indomitable spirit and will power. These are the qualities that make the Old Man persist in his battle with the marlin when even in the face of near defeat, starvation and sheer exhaustion he does not give up persistence. Not even for a moment does he think of giving up. Whereas another man would have given up the persistent struggles for three days and two nights against a fish bigger than he had ever seen or heard of. He struggles alone and emerges victorious. Occasionally his hope wanes but he prays to God and never gives up fighting.

The Marlin and His Behaviour

      The marlin is the Old Man’s adversary. His behavior also calls for a detailed study. A further interesting study is of the Old Man’s reactions to the marlin. The marlin, to all purposes is a beast, a creature of the sea and whose behavior is totally instinctive. But this very behavior rouses the Old Man’s respect and admiration because he interprets his movements and change of direction as deliberate and purposeful maneuvers. The huge size, the dignity and noble appearance of the marlin greatly impresses the Old Man. He considers the marlin a wonderful and strange creature. He says, ‘never have I had such Santiago talks to the marlin in much the same way as he talks to his different body parts as though they were able to hear and understand him’. He talks to the marlin as though he were nearby, listening to him. He says, for example, “Fish, I love you and respect you very much but I’ll kill you before this day ends.” He also sometimes addresses the fish, in a playful, jocular manner. “How do you feel, fish”. When his mood is grim and he is hungry and exhausted after the long ordeal, he challenges the fish. “I feel good and my left hand is better and I have food for a night and a day. Pull the boat, fish.”

His Sympathy and Respect for the Marlin

      The Old Man pities the great fish whom he is also determined to kill. He feels a curious sympathy towards him. During the night, “he began to pity the great fish that he had hooked. He is wonderful and strange and who knows how old he is ...I wonder if he has any plans or if he is just as desperate...?” Later, he thinks about how the marlin couldn t have eaten anything and he wishes that he could feed him. At once he calls him his brother. He also has, deep respect for the This is expressed after his speculation about his weight and his market value. He thinks of his enormous flesh which is to be fed to a large number of people. And he thinks how nobody is worthy of partaking of this flesh. “There is no one worthy of eating him from the manner of his behavior and his great dignity.” He also thinks the marlin nobler than human beings. “He is a great fish and I must convince him...But, thank God, they are not as intelligent as we who kill them, although they are more noble and more able.”

The Old Man’s Stoic Endurance

      The Old Man is a man of indomitable spirit. He is subjected to great suffering. His right hand is hurt, his left hand is cramped, his back hurts due to the movement of the cord. He hasn’t eaten properly and for three days and two nights the fish drags him. But not even for a moment does he think of giving up. He himself admits that the marlin is the biggest he has ever seen or heard of and he has never battled such a huge fish alone. But his confidence and resolve to kill the fish never wavers. The fish is an adversary worthy of the challenges and the Old Man is determined to fight to the finish. He says, “You are killing me, fish. But you have a right to. Never have I seen a greater or more beautiful or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. “Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who.” Santiago’s unwavering persistence can be seen in these lines.

The Significance of Santiago’s Thoughts

      In this section another very significant aspect of the novel is brought to light. There is an internal monologue accompanying the external action. This internal monologue is necessary for imparting meaning and significance to external action which comprises the Old Man’s physical struggle with the marlin. His thoughts run along simultaneously forming a pattern of commentary on the outward action. These thoughts provide key to his character and temperament. They also reveal his past history and explains his grit and determination. The Old Man’s thoughts are, therefore, significant for allowing psychological analysis of his character and the various objects and things that he thinks and dreams about acquire symbolic significance during the course of the Old Man’s struggle with the marlin and subsequently the sharks.

The Symbolic Significance of Manolin, the Lions, Baseball and DiMaggio

      The Old Man remembers many things as he is towed along by the huge marlin. He thinks about the boy Manolin, the lions on the golden beaches of Africa as a young boy in Africa and of baseball and the great star DiMaggio whom he admires. All these are of symbolic significance. Baseball is a subject dear to his heart. Reading the news about baseball and talking about it are the Old Man’s indulgence. He wonders about baseball games and who won the league matches as he battles the marlin. He keeps thinking about the game and then tells himself: “Now is no time to think of baseball. Now is the time to think of only one thing. That which I was born for.” He also dreams of baseball and thinks of its greatest star DiMaggio who begins to grow into a symbol of endurance, and fighting spirit inspite of his handicaps revealed as the Old Man muses how DiMaggio did everything perfectly though he had to suffer the pain of a bone spur in his heel. These thoughts give the Old Man strength and the will to fight against the odds. Thoughts of the boy also take on symbolic meaning. “I wish I had the boy” is a phrase that is repeated again and again whenever the Old Man feels the need for a companion or for someone to help him. He misses the boy. The boy who would have taken away his loneliness and done many things in his struggle with the marlin. He would have wetted the coils as it burned and hurt his hands. He would have massaged his cramped left hand. The thoughts of the boy helped to strengthen his resolve to kill the fish. The Old Man also things of the lions on the long beaches of Africa frequently. Even when he falls asleep for a few minutes he dreams of them and is happy. The lion and the boy, Manolin are symbols of the Old Man’s youthful energy. Whenever he dreams or things of them, he feels rejuvenated and he gets the extra urge and stimuli to forge on further towards his goal to kill the marlin. Thus, the Old Man’s thoughts are props that psychologically boost his morale and urge him to keep fighting and battling to achieve his goal.

Santiago and God

      Santiago himself, in this section, says that he is not a religious person. “I am not religious”, He says. But then he promises, that he will say ten Our Father’s and ten Hail Mary’s if he can catch this fish. And he promises to make a pilgrimage to the Virgin de Cobre if he catches the marlin. That he affirms it as a promise. He then commences to say his prayers, mechanically and being tired he sometimes forgets his prayers. Then he thinks that Hail Mary’s are easier to say than Our Fathers. And after saying his prayers add “Blessed Virgin, pray for the death of this fish, wonderful though he is.” The Old Man feels better after he has said his prayers but his sufferings do not diminish. This in a way shows his unrelenting faith in god.

Significance of the Hand-Wrestling Match

      Santiago remembers the time when he had been locked in a hand wrestling bout for one day and one night with a huge Negro who was the champion. This Negro from Cienfuegos was regarded to be the strongest man on the docks. They had remained locked with their elbows bleeding. People had betted on them. Then towards dawn the Old Man, then young, had summoned all his remaining strength and some, more than he knew he possessed and won the match. After that he was referred to as “the champion”. There had been a return match but he had easily won that. Later he had realized that he could beat anyone if he really wanted to. This memory in a way foretells the plot of the novel. The Old Man is now locked in a battle with the marlin. He endures being towed by the marlin for three days and two nights untill he gets the chance to harpoon and kill it. The hand wrestling watch serves to symbolize endurance, indomitable spirit and the will to fight and win.

Oneness with Nature

      In this section, Santiago’s attitude towards nature and its objects seem to speak of a close relation or oneness with them. The birds and fishes he meets evoke reactions that are of interest to us. In the course of his voyage, the Old Man comes across various creatures of the sea. The Portuguese man-of-war and the sharks arouse a feeling of hatred and disgust in Old Man. On the other hand, he loves green turtles and hawk bills for their elegance and speed and their great value. He had a friendly contempt for the huge but stupid logger-heads, yellow in their armor-plating. He also felt sorry for the turtles. He was also sorry for the birds, especially the small delicate dark terns because they had a hard life and the ocean cruel. He was also very fond of the flying fish who were his principal friends in the sea. The notion of brotherhood and a feeling of oneness is expressed in his attitude towards the porpoises that come during the night and the marlin itself. He comments about the porpoises, “They are good. They play and make jokes and love one another. They are our brothers like the flying fish.” He again felt that the marlin he had hooked was his brother. He pitied the marlin but he was determined to kill him. He says, “Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.” “The creatures of the sea are our true brothers”, he says.

Santiago as a Fisherman

      Santiago is a highly skilled and experienced fisherman. He is a professional and his experience and knowledge of the sea is enormous. He has acquired knowledge from his long years of fishing experience. He is acquainted closely with the behavior of the different creatures of the sea. His judgment and opinions are sound, authentic and true. During his fishing voyage he feels lonely and looking across the sea he knows how alone he is. But the creatures of the sea are his friends and he! realizes that one is never really alone on the sea. He relies more on his skill and precision to catch fish than on his luck. This can be observed? in the precision he maintains with his fishing lines. Hemingway writes; “He kept them straighter than anyone did, so that at each level in the darkness of the stream there would be a bait waiting exactly where he wished it to be for any fish that he swam there.” Others let their bait drift with the current but he did not. He felt that even though it was good to be lucky, he preferred to be exact so that when luck favored him he would be ready and waiting. Earlier while talking to the boy he had said, “I may not be as strong as I think. But I know many tricks and I have resolution.” Clearly, Santiago believes in his experience and the various skills and techniques of fishing he had acquired. All these can be observed in his behavior and approaches to fishing during his; voyage and his various comments. When he is hungry and doesn’t have anything to eat or bait to catch fish with, he utilizes his knowledge and catches some shrimp easily. Later while eating the dolphin he wants some salt. He says that he should have made some by sprinkling the sea water on the wood of the boat. He easily recognizes the difference in sound made by the female and male porpoises. He is also quite aware of the marlins. The male always lets the female feed first. Once it crosses; his mind that he shouldn’t have been a fisherman and he should have gone into some other profession. But he knows that he is born to be a fisherman. During his struggle he faces constant problems. He hurts his right hand and his left hand is cramped. His back is sore. Still he doesn’t give up, handling the lines with great skill and dexterity. He needs to remain clear headed and preserve his strength for the fight. Also he has a sensible thing and he forces himself to consume the raw fish. Later after harpooning the fish, and lashing it to the side of his boat as it was too big for the boat he again uses his skill though it was two men’s work. Then he acknowledges that his victory over the marlin had been won by his “intelligence” and his “trickery”. His comments on the clouds show his knowledge as a fisherman. He can easily make out what kind of weather will follow. For example his following comment If there is a hurricane you always see the signs of it in the sky for days ahead, if you are at sea. They do not see it ashore because they do not know what to look for, he thought. The land must make a difference too, in the shape of clouds. But we have no hurricane coming now. Thus, Santiago shows himself to be a seasoned fisherman.

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