Central theme of the novel the old man and the sea

  •                       Theme of the novel

Central theme of the novel the old man and the sea is about struggle The novel, “The Old Man and the Sea” informs us about the great struggle of an old man, Santiago. He struggles against the challenges in life on the earth. This struggle throws light on his fact that;

                             “Man is not made for defeated”

In this story,’The old man and the Sea’ the theme of victory and defeat is embedded beautifully,these are focal themes of this novel ‘The old man and the Sea’ He catches marlin after great struggle. He loses it at the hand of sharks. Thus it shows that failure and success do not matter in life. It is indeed, struggle which matters in life.

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The long struggle, heroic fight, and firm stand, make him victorious and undefeated. He is defeated because he loses the fish and does not succeed to bring the marlin and there remains only the Skelton of the marlin.

Now it does not matter that he could not save marlin from the sharks. But his courageous effort makes him successful when he says that;

                   “What a man can do and what a man endures”

He does not accept his defeat. Though he is physically weak spiritually he is very strong. He has nothing to defeat himself against the attack of sharks yet his courage and determination keep him alive. He gets moral victory because he does not surrender. After his defeat he is still determined to continue his struggle.

Santiago is the best fighter. He sticks to all the rules and does not quit when he is beaten. He remains undefeated, he endures and his loss is itself a victory.

In short, Santiago’s character shows that destruction means loss whereas defeat means surrender. In this regard Santiago stands for undefeated forces of life.

              Hemingway’s message I parable

“The Old Man and the Sea” is the most celebrated novel of Hemingway. This novel informs us about the great struggle of an old man, Santiago. He is a professional, seasoned and skillful Cuban fisherman. He is the most important character of the novel. He is thin and serious looking and undefeated.

He is careful and conscious of the moods of the weather. He knows the names of all the fishes. He is very sensitive to the things around him. He is a man of determination. He is master of this art. When he remains unable to catch fish for eighty four days, the people call him unlucky. His battle with the marlin and with the sharks shows that he is a man of exceptional qualities. In this context he says;

                       “What a man can do and what a man endures”

He is an optimist. After his defeat from sharks, he feels that he can still do something very important in his life. He is humble and compassionate. He loves the creature of sea and air. He loves the flying fish, the turtle and hawksbill. He faces all the hardships with courage and glory. He has exceptional qualities such as extreme patience, courage and resolution, which make him a code hero.

In short, “The old Man and the Sea” is about heroic struggle of Santiago. This novel has some autobiography element.  But the novel cannot be called an autobiography novel. This novel simply teaches a moral lesson that one should face the challenges of life bravely and courageously.

Some critics have the view the view point that the ending of the novel, “The Old Man and the Sea” is not justified and logical. They are of the view that the struggle of Santiago should not ended in smoke. The Central theme of the novel the old man and the sea is about struggle , never give up ,it seems to be spoiled but it is quite wrong.Let us justify the ending of this novel on the following grounds.

Santiago faces a number of suffering during his struggle to catch the marlin and save him from sharks. He goes far out in the sea to catch big fish. After a constant struggle of forty eight hours, he succeeds in killing the huge fish, marlin.

He had hardly caught the marlin when the sharks attack him. He fights with them like a hero, but all in vain. At last, the sharks eat up all the flesh of the marlin and he returns to the sea shore with the skeleton of the marlin.

First the ending of the novel is justified because there is a great symmetry in the story of the novel.

The first part of the story deals with Santiago’s struggle with the fish marlin in which succeeds. The second and the last part of the story narrate the old man’s heroic fight with the sharks in which he fails to save marlin. In fact he shows that failure and success do not matter in life. It is indeed struggle which matter in life.

In short, the ending of the novel is justified and quite natural. It has symmetry, and realism like Santiago before unforeseen forces. So symbolically, practically this can be the only convincing and logical ending.The Central theme of the novel the old man and the sea struggle is very much prominent in this novel.The whole novel runs around this theme without it , this novel never be interpreted at all. It becomes quiet clear that the central themes of novel The old man and the Sea are struggle,victory, moral victory and defeat.

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The Role of Manolin in The Old Man and the Sea

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