The novel tells a simple story of a simple fisherman who is luckless enough not to each a single fish for eighty-four days; he refuses, however, to be discouraged. On the eighty-fifth day, he decides to venture far out to sea, hoping to change his bad luck. He is even optimistic enough to believe that he may catch a big fish. In tune with the natural world about him, he spies birds and plankton that lead him to a good fishing spot. He easefully baits his hooks and patiently waits.
Hemingway carefully develops the old man’s battle with the fish in duce stages: the time before
knows his adversary; the time when he realises just what a powerful creature he must master; and the time when the fish starts circling and the old man successfully brings it in for the kill. As Hemingway stresses the stages of this outward journey of the fish that pulls the old man further and further from the security of the shore to the unknown reaches of the sea, he also develops the inward journey of Santiago . The old man must reach inside himself and come up with all his reserve of strength, intelligence, and logic to win his battle against the mighty fish; it is truly a display of grace under pressure on the part of Santiago . Santiago
In contrast to the first half of the book, characterized by a calm sea and
’s feeling of oneness with nature and the big fish, the second half of the book shows the evil side of the natural world, symbolized by the sharks. Santiago hates them because they are sly thieves and the deadliest creatures of the deep. In contrast to his regret over killing the giant marlin, the old man delights in stabbing or clubbing each shark. Santiago ’s battle with the sharks is also developed in three stages, helping to unify the plot. Santiago
Throughout the novel, the tastier is made aware of the old man’s noble suffering, his practicality, his love for living and non-living things, and his extraordinary grit courage, and determination. These characteristics, that he repeatedly displays in the midst of his struggles, bind the story together. Charles Darwin, the eminent biologist, speaks of straggle as an intrinsic part of the life of a human being, which results in the survival of the fittest. In the old man’s saga of suffering, he proves that he is a fit man, not only in physical t s but also in psychological terms. He survives where the normal man would have crumbled. At the end of the book, he is truly a hero who has gone beyond normal human endeavor; and yet not marred by pride or greed, he humbly sees himself as one who has been defeated by the sharks.