• Year Published: 1952.
  • Pages: 127.

The Old Man and the Sea Summary

Written by Earnest Hemingway in the year 1951, The Old Man and the Sea is a story of persistence, failure, and self-redemption.

This famous fiction novel begins with the story of an old man by the name of Santiago. Despite being an old fisherman, he was considered unlucky by most people in his village because he was not able to catch a single fish for 84 days.

When he was younger, Santiago used to train a little boy by the name of Manolin. He taught the boy how to fish at a young age and the two grew closer together. Every night Manolin would go to Santiago’s place to exchange conversations as well as bring food for the old man.

The next day, Santiago ventures out into the deeper waters of the Gulf Stream.He bids the little boy goodbye before he left. To end his unlucky streak, he was rewarded by catching a very big marlin.

Due to its size, the old man had great difficulty hauling the fish into his boat. Ironically, the fish pulled Santiago’s line and there was a non-ending struggle that lasted for two days. Not giving up, Santiago praised the marlin’s great strength and formidable will for not conceding when he tried to pull his line in.

On the 3rd day, the fish proceeded to circle Santiago’s boat until the fisherman was able to get closer and eventually stab the marlin with the use of his harpoon. Thinking about how he would redeem himself once the villagers would see him with his catch, Santiago proceeded his cheerful way home after securing the marlin on the side of his boat.

Because of the blood that has escaped the fish’s body, sharks started circling Santiago’s boat after sensing its scent. At first, Santiago was successful in killing a big shark but eventually, he lost his harpoon to the waters so he took whatever tool he has to defeat the other ones.

The sharks continue circling Santiago’s boat and they gradually ate the marlin’s body. Seeing the fish as his only chance of redeeming himself, Santiago did everything in his power to defeat the sharks. After a couple of struggles, the marlin was reduced to a pile of bones which eventually saddened the old fisherman.

He proceeded his journey towards home and upon reaching the shore, Santiago is left with nothing but a skeleton of the marlin stuck at the side of his boat. He hauled all his fishing gears in and because of too much tiredness, fell into a very deep sleep inside his home.

In the morning, other fishermen spotted the marlin’s carcass and measured its entire length. They came up with a measurement of 18 feet. They called for Manolin to comfort the old fisherman as well as tell him about the sad news.

The old man slept soundly and Manolin noticed his sad behavior. He tried to comfort him by bringing some food the next morning and promising him they will fish together. Eventually, Santiago sleeps again and thinks about youth-filled dreams.


The Old Man and the Sea Themes

1. Pride
2. Friendship
3. Man and Nature
4. Youth and Age
5. Christian Allegory
6. Resistance to Defeat
7. Suffering
8. Perseverance
9. Isolation
10. Memory and Past
11. Hunger
12. Luck
13. Respect
14. Reputation

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