Saturday, October 9, 2010

Introduction to the Novel and Main Characters

The Old Man and the Sea is a small novel, less than 100 pages. It is the story of an old fisherman, Santiago, who catches a big fish but loses it and then rises above his defeat to try again. It is also the story of a touching relationship between the old man and a young boy.
But it is not the story line that is of any significance; what matters is the sub-text and the philosophical message that it carries. Santiago, though old, dares to try and try again—and succeeds only to lose. He loses the battle with the sharks and his prize fish but he does not lose heart because he knows that he has done his best and retains the courage to try and try again. In other words, as Hemingway says in the novel, “Man is not made for death. A man can be destroyed but not defeated” This is the essential message of the novel.

Santiago: An old Cuban fisherman.
Manolin: A young boy, Santiago’s closest friend.
Martin: The owner of the Terrace who gives Manolin food for the old man.
Pedrico: He receives the head of the marlin to use for his traps.
Rogelio: A young boy who had helped Santiago with his fish nets.
The Marlin: The biggest fish ever caught in the Gulf.
Los Galanos are hunting sharks who destroy the marlin.
The Mako Shark is known as the killer shark with eight rows of teeth.

The Old Man and the Sea is not divided into separate chapters. It is one continuous story and has to be read as such. But for the sake of convenience, we have divided it into separate divisions so that the philosophical aspects of the novel are more easily understood. We have also used large extracts from the novel which have been presented in italics. Although the novel has been covered comprehensively, it is important that you read it and form your own opinions about it.

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