Cleveland Museum

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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.


  1. 1. There is no thesis. The thesis is very important and it is what this essay lacks. Which is a problem.

    2. The quote is “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). It really explains how life is and how he has very few supplies. Life isn't easy, and this quote stresses how hard it is for Santiago on his skiff.

    3. The strength of this essay is the organization. Everything is very clear and organized. The order makes sense and fits all of the guidelines, except the thesis. But the paragraphs are organized and complete and they make sense to me, and also other readers too.

    4. The weakest part of the essay is the lack of thesis. It should be there, and it is a very major and important part of the essay to have one. Without one, then the reader doesn't know what the body paragraphs are going to be about.

  2. 1. There actually is a clear thesis. The thesis is how humans or people in society have to pass barriers and obstacles and struggle everyday.

    2. The quote that talks about catching the fish, is good. It show how Santiago was the better of the two and the fish was no match for the old man.

    3. The strength is the conclusion. She explains what her essay was all about and what was part of the story. She explains what was important.

    4. The essay does not lack a thesis, however, it does lack explanation of your thesis. An explanation qould've convinced me a bit more.

  3. 1) She does have a thesis, and it is basically about choices and how they can affect people's lifes. It's a pretty good thesis.

    2) I think that the third quote stood out the best. The way she fit it in made the whole paragraph flow nicely.

    3) Beth uses really good describing words. The essay also flows very nicely.

    4) I think that Beth could focus on more of analyisis instead of plot summary. The last paragraph made no sense to me, it did not connect with the theisis at all, I thought. Good Job!

  4. The thesis is that people have to make decisions throughout their lives that will affect other people as well.

    “It was noon when I hooked him. I have never seen him”(46). This is the best supporting quote because it emphasizes how long Santiago has been pulling the fish.

    The strongest part of the essay is that the author summarizes the evens in a to-the-point manner. "The most powerful obstacle he faces is the pack of angry sharks that attacks Santiago’s boat."

    I think that the weakest part of the essay was your analyzing which doesn't take long to improve and you do require one more quote in your essay.

  5. 1) the thesis of this essay is that there are many conflicts and life and we have to make the right decisions

    2) i thought that the best quote was
    )“It was noon when I hooked him. I have never seen him”(46). it shows how long santiago has been pulling the fish, or the fish pulling santiago

    3)the strongest part of the essay the choice of vocab and that thee essay flows really nicely

    4) i think that the weakesty part of the essay was that there was too much summary and not enough analysis