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The Old Man and the Sea - Constructing Meaning from the Text

Uploaded by Gotskillz on Jul 04, 2004

The Old Man and the Sea is a novella that was written in 1952 by Ernest Hemingway. It is a story that initially makes you think that the author was drunk while he was writing it. How can a book about a man fishing for Marlin become a Nobel Prize Winner? Meaning. By looking into the book and reading between the lines, we can see that in fact The Old Man and the Sea is a complex story, and is well deserving of such an award. I think the meaning of the book is that of life. If you take all of the objects in the book and relate it to life, it is possible to distinguish a giant Metaphor that spans the whole novella. Through the use of symbols and the fact that we know the book is operating on a poetic level, and is not meant to be taken literally, we can determine our own version of what Hemingway intended as the meaning.

One of the symbols constantly mentioned in the story is that of the great baseball player JoeDiMaggio. Although it is not apparent without careful study of the text, it can be seen that the “Great DiMaggio” was a simple fisherman in early life, much like the old man, and achieved stardom despite adversity. The old man has this great battle with an enormous fish, and throughout the whole ordeal, he constantly reassures himself by saying that “the Great DiMaggio” would have been able to pull through this. Just as DiMaggio managed to struggle through the pain of a bone spur, the old man was able to struggle through the pain of his hands, and his immense adversity in the fish. Referring to the meaning, we can see that this relates to life in that we can always struggle through what is painful, so long as we stick to our principles and our guidances.

The other fishermen had called the old man unlucky, because he had not caught a fish for many days. This is reflected in the sail of the boat. The sail was """"patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat"""" (Pg. 5). Yet, when unfurled, the sail still carries out its function, carrying the old man out into the deepest water where his marlin awaits. Likewise, the old man proves himself when the time comes, giving a...

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Uploaded by:   Gotskillz

Date:   07/04/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   6 pages (1,462 words)

Views:   9280

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