The Old Man And The Sea: Chapter 4 - Summary & Analysis

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Section IV


Santiago Comes Home

      The Old Man sailed into the little harbor and saw that the lights of the restaurant “Terrace” were out. He knew everybody must be sleeping now. It was quiet in the harbor and nobody was there to help him pull the boat up. After making the boat fast to a rock he unstepped the mast, furled the sail and shouldering the mast started walking towards the shark. As he climbed he looked back at the skeleton of the marlin. He was very tired and he had to stop and rest five times before he reached his shack. In his shack he leaned his mast against the wall, took a drink of water and lay on his bed. He slept with his arms stretched out straight and his palms facing upwards.

The Boy’s Reaction

      In the morning Manolin looked in, and saw him sleeping. There was a strong wind and there would be no fishing for the day. He had been coming to the shack every morning since the Old Man had gone out and when he saw the Old Man breathing and saw his badly injured hands he began to cry and he ran crying to get him coffee. Then he saw the fishermen gathered around the Old Man’s skiff and how one man was in the water measuring the skeleton with a length of line. The boy had already seen the skeleton and now he did not care that they saw him crying and called out to let. no one disturb the Old Man since he was sleeping. The marlin was a most unusual catch. He had been eighteen feet long and none had ever caught such a big fish. Everybody, all the fishermen ware wondered by the Old Man’s feat and they showed their respect in their concerned attitude towards him.

The Old Man Talks to the Boy

      At the Terrace, the boy got some coffee. The proprietor expresses his admiration what a fish it was” and deep sympathy “tell him sorry I am.” The boy gave Santiago the coffee as soon as he got up. And he told him that they had beaten him. But the boy said, that it was not the fish that had beaten the Old Man and he argued that he had been beaten afterward. The Old Man then said that Pedrico would get the marlin’s head and the boy could keep the spear. Then the Old Man wanted to know if anybody had searched for him and the bey said yes, even the coast guard with plans. The Old Man had missed the boy. The boy was now determined that he and the Old Man should fish together from then on. He did not care what his parents would say. He had a lot to learn and they made lots of plans for their future fishing trips. The Old Man had suffered quite a lot and he had hurt his hands spat something strange and felt something was broken in his chest. Then the boy left to get him some food. He went promising to bring food, the paper and something for his hands. But he was still crying.

The Tourist

      That afternoon a party of tourists came at the Terrace and they saw the skeleton. A woman asked the waiter what it was, and the waiter said, “Tiburon”, “Eshark” meaning to explain but the woman misunderstood and took the skeleton to be that of a shark. She said in her ignorance “I didn’t know sharks had such handsome and beautifully formed tails.”

Conclusion: Undefeated and Happy

      The Old Man lay in his shack sleeping. The boy was with him watching him sleep. The Old Man was dreaming about the lions, implying he was not beaten and that he was happy then.

Critical Analysis

      Grim Pathos and Rays of Happiness
The concluding section of the novel is full of sadness and pathos in its description of Santiago's laboring to return to his shack and in the reaction of the boy and others. The Old Man is coming alone and his climbing up the hill with the mast on his shoulders, his looking back at the skeleton white and glowing in the moonlight, his exhaustion that he has to rest five times before he goes home and the manner in which he falls into an exhausted sleep all deeply moving. Hemingway’s descriptions are sad and poignant. Further the image protected the Old Man with his bleeding hands carrying the mast is reminiscent of the crucifixion which is re-emphasized in his picture of the Old Man laying face down on his bed with his badly lacerated hands stretched out with the palms facing upwards. Deeply moving is the boy’s reaction, he begins to cry at the sight of the Old Man’s hands and cries and he runs for coffee, later for food and while he talks to the fishermen measuring the skeleton. The Proprietor of “The Terrace” comments on the marlin “what a fish it was! there has never been such a fish” and the quiet fishermen who measure the fish show their deep concern and respect for the Old Man. The boy however, brings in rays of happiness in the otherwise tragic narration. He is now determined to stay with the Old Man and fish and learn from him, no matter what his father says. He also informs the Old Man that they have been worried and looked for him with the coast guards and airplanes. The information that the fish has been eighteen feet long and that the Old Man has been beaten but not by the fish inspires a sense of awe and admiration. Manolin also expresses his hope for a brighter, happier future. Another aspect that brings an element of humor and relief, is in the incident describing the tourist, ignorant of fish and fishermen who think that the skeleton is of a shark. The idea implied is that for those who know, Santiago is a hero and a heroic figure no matter what the ignorant say.

End Full of Optimism

      The end of the note is optimistic and cheerful. The Old Man was sleeping “he was still sleeping on his face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The Old Man was dreaming of the Lions. The boy and the lions ware with the Old Man and the boy physically and the lions in his dreams and they symbolized youth and energy which were the source of his inspiration and the reason for his determination. He had missed the boy. Many times in the course of the novel he said, “I wish I had the boy” and now the boy was with him and was going to be with him in the fishing trips in the future. As for the lions, they were constantly appearing in his dreams and whenever they did, the Old Man is happy. Thus, the Old Man and the sea did not end in a pessimistic note but on optimistic note full of beauty and hope.

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