The Old Man and The Sea By Ernest Hemingway
According to Hemingway • According to Hemingway, in order to be satisfied with one’s self: • one must learn • To be a friend • To have a friend • To endure physical pain • To handle the death of a loved one • To pass knowledge on to others
According to Hemingway • To respect greatness in others • To win with humility • To lose with dignity • To struggle with something bigger than yourself • To handle adversity • To resist being discouraged by failure
According to Hemingway • To appreciate and love nature • To master a skill • To resist following the crowd • To be able to be alone with yourself • To love an adversary even if you must kill him • To resist worrying about what others think of you
Copy the following thematic statements into your notes. • Life is a series of struggles. • Do you believe this is true? • What are some of the daily struggles people must face? • Do people struggle to achieve goals in life? How? • Do life’s struggles become easier or more difficult as a person grows older? Give examples.
Copy the following thematic statements. • The personal qualities of determination, pride, and endurance can triumph over adversity. • How would you define each trait? • Why are these traits important? How are these traits related to life’s struggles? • Can you give examples of successful people who have these traits?
Copy the following thematic statements. • Pushing beyond the normal limits in life is important regardless of whether you win or lose. • What does pushing beyond the limits mean? • What are the limitations that can be placed on a person? What are some of the limits age places on a person? • Give some examples of people from sports or other areas who have had great successes because they have not been content with operating within normal limits. What are the dangers of pushing limits too far.
Copy the following thematic statements. • Suffering makes the human spirit strong. • Do you agree or disagree? • Can you think of people whose lives prove this statement? • What are some of the effects of great or prolonged suffering? • Can great suffering turn out to be a great blessing?
Day One Reading Questions p.1-28 1. In what ways are the negative qualities of Santiago emphasized? • The opening paragraph emphasizes the extent of his bad fishing luck. Next he is described as a wrinkled, worn-out. Only his eyes are described in a positive way. The author says they are “the color of the sea, cheerful and undefeated.”
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 2. What significance or importance might Santiago’s name have? • Santiago is Spanish for Saint James, a fisherman in the bible and one of Christ’s disciples. This is appropriate because this fisherman is surrounded by religious imagery in the story.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 3. How is luck important to Santiago and Manolin? Santiago has been 84 days without a fish. He goes out on day 85, hoping it will be his lucky day. The community thinks luck is important because they are fishing community. The reader learns this when Manolin is forced to quit Santiago’s trips and fish with someone else.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 5. How is Santiago set off from the other fishermen? The younger fisherman laugh at him; the older ones respect him but also feel sorry for him because his luck is so bad. He fits into neither group is kind of an outcast.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 6. How can Santiago be proud and humble at the same time? Hemingway distinguishes pride from true pride, which can coexist with humility. Santiago is proud of his skills, proud of his accomplishments as a fisherman, but not so proud or arrogant that he won’t accept help from Manolin or admit that he is getting too old.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 7. Describe Manolin’s character and discuss why he might behave as he does. Manolin is more mature than his age suggests. He is partly responsible for supporting his family, and has had the benefit of Santiago’s lifetime of experience taught to him since he was five (remember that Hemingway said you have to pass on knowledge to future generations).
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 8. What in Santiago’s character makes him a hero? He is strange, has a history of spectacular physical accomplishments and feats of strength. He also rejects the careless ways of other fishermen. He is precise and careful so that he even knows what kind of fish he has hooked before he actually catches it. He also displays courage and intelligence as he battles the marlin, and he is a philosopher because he thinks about his relationship to his opponent, to nature, and the morality of killing a noble animal.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 4. What is the relationship between Santiago and Manolin? They love each other and show it many different ways: first, Santiago is Manolin’s teacher; second, he is also his friend; third, Manolin looks after the old man like a parent would a child. He respects Santiago, and has faith in his ability.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 9. How are the nightly precautions Santiago takes with his fishing equipment both realistic and optimistic? Twice we are told that Santiago knows that no one will steal from him. At the same time, he takes no chances – he takes the gaff and harpoon home.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 • 10. What do the details of Santiago’s house reveal about him? • His basic good nature is revealed by the open door. He trusts people. He is pious: he has religious pictures, and we know of his love for his dead wife by the hidden pictures of her.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 11. Why do Manolin and Santiago talk about their cast net and fish and yellow rice? They both know that there is no cast net or pot of yellow rice and fish but they pretend these things exist. It is how they accept their poverty with grace and good humor: they don’t whine or complain about their poor circumstances.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 • 12. Describe Santiago and Manolin’s differing reactions to the Yankees defeat. • Manolin is disappointed in the Yankees. Santiago reprimands the body for lacking faith. The loss doesn’t discourage Santiago who believe that the important thing is that DiMaggio played at full strength. He is trying to teach the boy a lesson in courage, faith, and endurance.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 • 13. Why won’t Santiago borrow money? • It is a matter of personal philosophy – he believes that borrowing leads inevitably to begging. However, he does accept food and bait which is freely given.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 • 14. How do Santiago’s and Manolin’s sleeping habits emphasize the contrast of youth and age? • The old man wakes up early, perhaps he says, because the old want to have one longer day. Young boys sleep late and hard, perhaps because they expect to have many more days.
Day One Reading Questions p. 1-28 • 15. Why does Santiago dream about lions? • He saw lions on a far-away beach when he was a boy. Manolin reminds him of his youth, causing dreams of his own childhood. The lions also represent the strength and vigor of the hunter, the strength and vigor (life force) that he needs to survive. The dream also reveals a longing to be free of everyday concern: to be playing instead of working harder and harder ever day.
Day Two Reading Questions p. 25-57 • 1. What is the boy’s reaction to being wakened? • He doesn’t want to get up but does so without complaint because it is what a man must do. It is a small point, but indicative of his maturity.
Day Two Reading Questions p. 25-57 • 2. How does this day’s trip differ from Santiago’s usual pattern? • He goes out past the deep wells- much farther out than he normally goes.
Day Two Reading Questions p. 25-57 • 3. Why does Santiago call the sea “la mar”? • In Spanish, la mar is a feminine name for the sea. Santiago chooses it to name a beautiful, mysterious, and sometimes deadly force. Some younger fishermen who use a masculine name are less deeply moved by the sea. Again, this points to Santiago’s combination of both tough fisherman and sensitive, thoughtful thinker.
Day Two Reading Questions p. 25-57 • 4. What are Santiago’s feelings for creatures of the sea? • He reacts to each creature according to its situation, usefulness, and “character.” he enjoys the companionship of some birds. He pities small birds which must fly into high winds and stay aloft or die. Others he sees as fishing guides, telling him when and where and sometimes what kind of fish are in the water beneath him. • The Marlin he admires for its strength and endurance. He hates the jellyfish because they are beautiful but painful and treacherous. He despises other fish like shovel nosed sharks for being stupid, or being a scavenger.
Day Two Reading Questions • 5. Describe ways in which Santiago demonstrates his fishing skill and explain why this is important to a Hemingway hero. • Santiago knows exactly how to row in order to take advantage of the Gulf Stream current. He knows how to disguise his hooks and place at specific depths. He can find food for himself in difficult circumstances, predicts fish behavior, uses a harpoon and knife with deadly accuracy, and so has mastered all the skills of his job.
Day Two Reading Questions • 6. What two signs indicate that there are fish nearby? • A circling man-of-war bird and a layer of plankton are signs that fish are near. 7. What might the Portuguese-man-of-war symbolize? It is the beauty that hides a deadly poison. The conflict of beauty and treachery is typical of the sea and all nature. This comes up again and again.
Day Two Reading Quiz • 8. Why doesn’t Santiago worry about talking to himself? • Santiago knows that other fishermen think talking to oneself is a sign that one is crazy but he also knows that he is not crazy so he justifies his chatter on several grounds: other fishermen have companions and he no longer has Manolin, rich people have radios and he doesn’t.
Day Two Reading Questions p. 25-57 • 9. How does Santiago know he has hooked a Marlin? • It takes the bait a depth inhabited by marlins and nibbles the bait carefully as marlins usually do. 10. Describe the steps Santiago must take in order to make sure the fish is caught. He must make sure the fish is hooked, so he lets it take out all the line.
Day Two Reading Questions • 11. How does he know he’s caught a fish of extraordinary size? • The marlin pulls the skiff out to sea for hours. 12. How does Santiago feel about the Marlin? He believes it to be a worthy opponent because it is strong and noble. He feels sympathy for the fish’s suffering as well as for his own. 13. How does the story of Manolin and the two other marlin show that the boy is a suitable partner for Santiago? Manolin and Santiago both felt bad for the female marlin, showing they both have respect and sympathy for their foes.
Day Three Reading Questions • 1. salt • 2. dolphin • 3. my two hands • 4.our fathers, hail marys, hail mary • 5 DiMaggio, bone-spur • 6. arm-wrestled, el campeon • 7. left hand, traitor • 8. dusk, dusk 9. slept 10. cooked, raw • 11. sacs, air, deep 12. two feet 13. sharks 14. salt, limes, 15. love, respect
Day Three Reading Questions • 1. Why does Santiago wish the boy were there? • For companionship, and to help with the work 2. Why does the fish lurch? Santiago thinks the line slipped on the fish’s hump. 3. How does Santiago’s comment about the fish’s pain help portray his own physical condition? He can empathize with the fish because his own back is throbbing.
Day Three Reading Questions • 4. What does the fish’s course tell about its strength? • He is heading north, but the current is flowing eastward so the fish must be strong to fight the current and pull his boat at the same time. 5. Why does he want the fish to jump? He wants it to fill the sacks along its back with air and make it difficult for it to go down deep.
Day Three Reading Questions • 6. Explain how the old man can love the fish yet wish to kill it. • According to Hemingway’s hero code, there is no contradiction. The true hunter or fisher respects his prey, and a victory over a worthy opponent makes the struggle that much greater. 7. In what ways are the fish and the fisherman alike? Santiago and the fish both are strange, and determined, and powerful in their own ways.
8. Describe Santiago’s right and left hands. • Both are injured, but for different reasons, right hand has always been strong, but is injured when the right line rushes through it; the left hand is weaker, and a traitor, because it cramps up. 9. How might Santiago’s hands be seen as part of the book’s religious imagery? They contribute to the image of Santiago as a Christ-symbol. Christ was wounded in both hands, the thief on the right (dexter) was saved, the thief on the left (sinister) was condemned.
Day Three Reading Questions • 10. What qualities of the fish are stressed by the description of his jump? • The length is emphasized, and Santiago’s astonished reaction stresses the combination of strength, size, grace, and beauty. The purple color suggest royalty. 11. Why does Santiago say that the fish is more noble than he? The fish’s struggle is greater than his own.
Day Three Reading Questions • 12. In what ways does Santiago seem an unlikely Christ-symbol? • Santiago admits he isn’t religious, says prayers mechanically in moments of stress to use them like bribes to argue or arrange his fate. 13. How are Santiago’s thoughts like the thoughts of a Hemingway code hero? He admires the fish for its strength even as he prays for its death. He respects his foe without fearing it.
Day Three Reading Questions • 14. In which direction does that fish turn • The begins to turn east and this tells Santiago its moving with the current perhaps because it is getting tired. 15. What things does Santiago think of while the fish pulls? What do these thoughts have in common? He thinks of several things – the lions on the beach, baseball (and Joe DiMaggio), and an arm wrestling contest. They all represent strength and youth
Day Three Reading Questions • 16. What two things does Santiago do to preserve his strength? • He eats some dolphin and flying fish, and he tries to get some sleep • 17. What two things does Santiago’s dreams show about his present situation? • At first he seems to be aware of his location and his problem. He dreams of the sea, then he dreams that he is uncomfortable and his arm has fallen asleep. Finally, he dreams of the lions, a peaceful dream, indicating he has left his problems behind for a moment.
Day Four Pop quiz • 1. left, hands 8. 300, 50 • 2. black spots 9. mako, fingers, forty • 3. sucking fish 10. look • 4. kill 11. defeat, defeated, destroyed • 5. noble 12. fishing 13. sin • 6. brother, slave 14. galano, ¾ • 7. shrimp 15. tiller 16. broken 17. DiMaggio 18. crucifixion of Christ, 19. S’s death
Day Four Reading Questions • 1. How does Santiago know that the fish is about to circle? • He has studied the fish • He recognizes stages of the fish’s struggle
Day Four Reading Questions • 2. Why does Santiago rebuke his left hand? • It fails him in the crisis • He considers it a deliberate failure
Day Four Reading Questions 3. How does Hemingway stress the endurance of Santiago? • He emphasizes Santiago’s tiredness while the fish is circling • He is dizzy • He sweats • He sees black spots • He keeps pulling anyway
Day Four Reading Questions 4. Why does Santiago want the marlin to stop jumping? He is afraid it will tear loose from the hook
Day Four Reading Questions 5. How is the fish’s size described? Does the description make it easier or harder to visualize the fish? Longer than a scythe blade, uses the words “huge” and “bulk” instead of exact measurements For some people, exact measurements help create a better mental image, but others can feel the fish’s size as they sympathize with the old man. The comparison between a scythe and the tail is an analogy, a comparison between two dissimilar things.
Day Four Reading Questions • 6. How does the last battle suggest Santiago’s (and Hemingway’s) respect for the fish? • Santiago continues to call the fish brother • He is awed by its beauty, size, and power • He says he does not care who wins the battle. • Even after the battle, he has to lash the fish ALONGSIDE as an EQUAL. (symbolism)
Day Four Reading Questions • 7. How does the fish finally die? How does this forecast trouble? • He must be harpooned in the heart • The spreading blood will attract sharks
Day Four Reading Questions • 8. What is the slave work? • Lashing the fish alongside the boat • Setting sail for home • It is something he must do himself • It is not glamorous the way catching the fish was • It is the menial, labor intensive part of his job