Cleveland Museum

Cleveland Museum
Science Museum and the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea Prompt

Throughout life everyone faces many obstacles or problems where the person has to make a sincere decision that can affect the person’s life or someone else’s. That person has to think about the situation and come to a reasonable outcome. Even people in works of literature face obstacles or problems that affect their life, like in The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. The main character Santiago faces to most powerful obstacle than anyone else in the novella. He also faces other problems while he’s out at sea.

The most powerful obstacle he faces is the pack of angry sharks that attacks Santiago’s boat. Santiago went out to sea to fish, and while out there, he caught on to a marlin that after a couple days dragged him far from the land. Santiago didn’t expect to be so far out into the ocean, so he didn’t have enough supplies to last him another couple of days. He was on the break of starvation, tiredness, and dehydration; he used to last of his strength to pull out the taunting marlin, “In the darkness he [Santiago] loosened his sheath of the knife and taking all the strain of the fish on his left shoulder...”(51). When the old man pulled the marlin onto the boat the man felt enthusiastic, elated, and relieved that he finally caught the fish. The old man couldn't be happier that after 84 days without a catch, he caught a huge marlin. Santiago was absolutely devoted

One problem Santiago faces, besides the shark is the marlin. The marlin he caught dragged him farther out into the ocean than where he started. When Santiago caught onto the marlin, the fish took the line and pulled the old man’s boat a far distance from the land. The old man states, “It was noon when I hooked him. I have never seen him”(46). Santiago emphasizes that it has been a while since he hooked the fish. This problem affects the old man by using up all the old man’s energy which makes Santiago tired and eventually weakened.

Another problem the old man confronts is lack of supplies. He didn’t plan his trip to take as long as it did. He had to be thoughtful about how to use up his supplies. He had to partially eat the dolphin fish he caught to build energy, the old man says to himself, “Perhaps I should eat some of it when I clean it. It will be harder than to eat than the bonito. But, then, nothing is easy”(74). The old man was most disappointed when his oar and knife broke and the shark took his harpoon and rope while he was fighting off the pack of sharks that wanted his marlin, “he took my harpoon and all the rope, he [Santiago] thought, and now my fish bleeds again and there will be others”(103)the old man thinks to himself.

Santiago is a lonely man who lost his wife and the young man he took with him fishing, is now on another boat because the parents wanted their son to fish with a luckier boat. The old man is approved of the young man's parents. He knows that he hasn't been lucky in 84 days and that 85 is his lucky number. The old man is tense and determined everyday he goes out to sea. He wants to catch some fish so he can make some money, buy better supplies, and buy food and drinks. He old man is outgoing even when he knows he is very poor and has almost nothing to eat. In the story the young man feels apologetic towards the old man, Manolin takes Santiago out for beer and coffee the next morning. Everyone in town feels apologetic for the old man when the old man goes out to fish and doesn't come back for four days and when he does he only brings back a large carcass of a marlin.