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Characterization of santiago from ernest hemingways the old man and the sea

Events of the novel take place at Cuba, approximately in September 1950. Summary The Old Man and the Sea starts with a description of an old man, Santiago, a fisher who spent eighty-four days without any fare. Of course, it is offensive for Santiago who spent all his life at the sea and travelled a lot while being young. He also is an excellent and skillful fisherman, he just did not find a big fish worthy of selling for a long time.

At first a boy, Manolin, was helping him, but after forty days without fare his parents forbade him to attend the old man, so now he works with another fisherman. The boy has a kind of affection to Santiago and they meet in the evening to share some talk and food.

The old man tries to cheer up the boy and himself, telling that tomorrow he will go far into the sea and catch a big fish. Manolin asks Santiago to wake him up tomorrow, so they will go to the shore together. Next day Santiago wakes the boy and they stroll to the shore. The boy brings him coffee, not aware that this would be the only food for Santiago for the whole day. He also brings him some fresh sardines for baiting. Santiago rows far into the sea. At first, he can hear other fishermen in the dark but soon he is all alone, facing the sea.

The long experience allows Santiago to row almost effortlessly, letting the current to do a third of work instead of him, preserving his scarce force for future fight with a big fish.

He sets his baits, silently proud of his skills and ability to keep his lines at the right angle. He had no luck in many days, but today is a new day, so anything can happen.

The Old Man and the Sea

The morning light hurts his eyes, but being optimistic Santiago at once reminds himself that his sight is still good and keen.

Such demur for each sad fact is habitual for him, for he is the man who does not give up. He spots a man-of-war bird, chasing the flying fish, and follows it. Neither he, nor man-of-war have any luck in their fishing, so Santiago simply continues his journey, hoping for a big fish that should swim somewhere. Later he catches a tuna fish, a ten-pound albacore, and says aloud that it would make a good bait.

At a Glance

This leads to his musing about talking aloud when he is alone in the sea, for this can be taken as a sign if his insanity. But he is sane, of course, and nobody hears him. The talk in course of fishing is used only when it is necessary, so even when he went for catch with Manolin, they were talking just a little.

But now he allows himself this small luxury, because he bothers no one, and envies the rich people who are able to take radio-receivers with them and listen to reports about current baseball games. At this Santiago interrupts himself, because he has to be focused on his fishing. He also notices that now he is too far in the ocean and can barely see the tops of highest hill on the shore.

A sudden dip of one of the sticks to which the line is tied signalizes that there is a fish in the depth, taking a bite of a fat sweet-smelling bait. Santiago is a skillful and sensitive fisherman, so he waits patiently for fish to take the whole bait, a bundle of sardines and a tuna with a hook in it.

While waiting he thinks about how big this fish should be, living at such a depth. But the fish returns to the bait and Santiago prepares the reserve lines, allowing it to take the hook. At last, the fish is hooked and the old man takes all its weight at his back, pulling the line. The fish starts to tow the boat farther into the ocean. This is going to be a hard and long battle: The old man drinks some water and tries just to endure the further confrontation.

He can no longer see the shore but thinks that in the night, when the struggle would be over, he can return to Cuba easily, for Havana lights would be visible.

But as the night falls, the fish continues to move on its course. The old man has nothing to do but to hold the line.

The Old Man and the Sea Characters

He wraps a sack around his shoulders to make himself a little warmer and to form a cushion of the sort, to ease the pressure of the line on his back. Understanding that the struggle will continue for an uncertain time, Santiago forces himself to eat some raw tuna meat, in order to keep himself strong. During the night some other fish takes one of the baits but the stick splinters so Santiago even did not see what he might have caught.

He abandons all other lines and baits in order to keep the big fish and yearns for the boy — he could help him to fight it. But the boy is not here and Santiago reminds himself to stay concentrated. This cannot last forever, and he vows that he will stay with this fish until he is dead, and then realizes that the same is fair to say about the fish too.

  1. Santiago won his greatest victory and sharks had taken only its material evidence. The novel was adapted into a movie in 1958 and into a mini-series in 1990.
  2. Santiago tells him about the pain in his chest and strange coppery-tasting liquid that he spat. He was not afraid of the black spots.
  3. In his battle with the marlin, Santiago begins to identify with the fish, feeling a brotherhood with it and almost a sense of guilt about the idea of killing it. He is still asleep when the boy comes into the shack in the morning.

As the morning light appears, the old man realizes that the fish is swimming on the shallower depth than before, so maybe it will jump and the air sacks along its back would be filled with air and it will not go into depth to die.

Santiago even tells the fish that he loves it and respect it very much, but he will kill it before this day would be over. At least he hopes so.

He is disgusted, for the cramp is the most humiliating thing that can happen to a man when he is alone. If the boy was here, he thinks, he could help and massage the cramped hand. Santiago eats the remaining tuna meat, hoping that it would help his hand to recover.

Suddenly the fish jumps and the old man sees it for the first time. It is a huge marlin, two feet longer than the boat, and it is beautiful, shining with shades of violet, with a sword-like nose, and scythe-like tail. Santiago understands that he should not show his full strength to the marline, for if he was a fish, he would run forward until something broke, but fishes are not so intelligent as people who kill them, though they have more nobility and ability.

  • Santiago acknowledges this by his admiration and respect to the huge, strong and beautiful sea creature;
  • The boy offers to bring him a clean shirt, promises to fetch some newspaper and leaves, crying again.

Santiago had never caught such a big fish alone, so he is prepared to a really hard task. Now all he can do is to wait for fish to slow down or die. He even starts to say prayers, though he is not a religious person. Later he decides that he should catch some small fish, to have something to eat. He is determined to catch the marlin, no matter what sufferings await for him.

He wishes that fish would go to sleep for a while — so that he would be able to sleep too, and probably would see lions in his dreams. He even wonders a little about the fact that those lions are the main thing that he so often dreams of.

He spots a plane in the sky and wonders about the look of the sea from above. Later, just before the nightfall, he catches a dolphin note that this word here means a fish called dorado, not a mammal and rebaits a line. His left hand is much better and the right one is cut lightly by rope, or so he tells the fish and himself, but Santiago realizes that he is very tired and have to get some sleep. At last he composes himself enough to gut the dolphin and finds two fresh flying fishes in its stomach.

He eats a half of his fare and sleeps a little. After two dreams, he even sees his favorite lions. The line is racing out, burning and cutting his back and hands. If the boy was here, he would wet the rope, but the old man is alone. The struggle continues; the marlin makes at least ten jumps. Only at dawn it starts to go in circles, which means that it gets tired at last. Next two hours Santiago works hard, pulling the line in.

Write a character sketch of Santiago from The Old Man and the Sea.

Black spots are dancing in front of his eyes, but he attributes them to his weariness. He does not want to die; same goes to the marlin: After some time it resumes its circling; Santiago is nearly fainting again. He pours some water on his head and wants to take some rest, but resumes pulling the line. At last, when the fish turns and starts to pull again, he falls into his boat, exhausted. A trade wind starts to blow. Santiago is glad about it, for this wind will help him to struggle with the fish, and will bring him home.

The marlin passes under the boat and Santiago cannot believe his eyes — it is so huge! He prepares his harpoon and tells himself to be calm and strong. He continues to pull the line in, ignoring the vertigo. At last he stabs the great fish with his harpoon and almost fades at this. The victory is his. He killed the fish he used to call a brother. Now he has a slave work to do: After lashing the huge fish, he heads home. Santiago drinks a quarter of the remaining water and catches some small shrimps in a bundle of seaweed.

As the boat heads back to Cuba, the old man looks at the fish, still incapable to believe that he killed it. A whole hour passes before the first shark arrives, attracted by the scent of blood. But he can kill it and the strike of his harpoon is successful.

Santiago immediately crafts a new weapon of an oar and a knife. But its taste would inevitably attract more sharks. In two hours a couple of them arrives. Two shovel-nosed sharks attempt an attack and Santiago kills them both, but they take at least a quarter of his prize with them, choosing the best meat.

New attacks follow and Santiago fights with sharks in every way he can but they leave him and the fish alone only when there was nothing to eat anymore. In course of this battle, Santiago feels a strange coppery taste in his mouth. It is long after midnight when Santiago reaches the shore. Everybody is asleep at this time, so there is no one to help him.

The old man tries to bring a mast with a sail into his shack, falls, lies for a while, than seats, looking at the empty road, and renews his labor.