Assignment- E-C 303 American Literature
Topic- “The old man and sea’’ as a Tragedy
Name- Sumra Jitendra V.
SEM - 1
“The old man and the sea’’ as a Tragedy.
About the writer:
“The Old Man and the Sea” was written by Ernest Hemingway. Ernest Hemingway had been an international literary celebrity for more than a quarter of a century whenever people need books and in a good many places where people did not read of all the very name of Hemingway was a legend. It was a name associated with war and courage with love and violence with beauty and death. Hemingway was aware of the danger of celebrity the fact that success all too often destroyer the very talent statement is a capsule definition of what he and other writers in the united states and abroad were trying to achieve during the First World War period.
About the novel:
“The Old Man and the Sea” appeared in 1952, and this novel was written by Ernest Hemingway. In a sense, The Old Man and the Sea is capsulated Hemingway that is in its poetic brevity. It is the stilled essence of the writer’sss most profound beliefs concerning human existence. The main characters of this novel:
- The tourists
Brief information about the characters:
Santiago is a poor peasant fisherman, “thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck”. His body bears the marks of his trade for example; the skin of his face bears brown blotches, caused by the burning reflection of the sun’s rays upon the tropical sea. In addition, his hands reveal “deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords.” Everything about him, except his eyes, testifies to his age. His poverty is equally evident. He lives in a shack made from palms of furniture, a bad, a table and a chair.
The reader learns little of the boy, Manolin, in terms of concrete detail. We know that he has customarily been Santiago’s companion in fishing. Their association begins very early.
Manolin is a young man, based on someone Hemingway knew in Cuba who was then in his twenties. In the story, however, Manolin is referred to as “The boy” like Santiago; Manolin comes from a family of fisherman and has long admired Santiago as a masterful practitioner of his trade.
- The Tourist
The unnamed female tourist is important since in her mistaking the carcass of the marlin as that of shark, she acts as a foil for Santiago’s extraordinary knowledge of the sea.
The Old Man and the Sea is, as story very good, sweetly and smoothly told, the conflict is resolved in to a struggle between a man and a force which he scarcely comprehends, but which he strives against.
The old Man and the Sea, while reasserting the set of values, Hemingway is built upon the great abstractions- the love and truth and honour and loyalty and pride and humanity.
The old man is a fisherman and he is also a teacher one who has taught the boy not only now to fish- that is, how to make a living- but now how to behave as well, giving him the pride and humility necessary to a good life. During the trails with the great fish and with the shark his hands pain him terribly, and his chest constricts and he spits blood. He hooks the fish at noon, and at noon of the third day he kills heart. As he sees the second and calls aloud “Ay” and Hemingway comments “There is no translation for this word and perhaps it is just such a noise as a man might make in voluntarily”. The old man shoulders his mast and goes upward from the sea toward his hut, and when he reaches the hut lies on the bed with his arms out straight and the palms of his hands up.
The old man and the Sea as a tragedy we can say that at the time,
Santiago knew that the fish was too big to bring into the boat. Therefore, he lashed it securely to the side and prepared to return to the harbor. To give himself strength, he ate small shrimps from the yellow gulf weed that floated by, and drank half of one of the two drinks of water he still had felt in his bottle.
The skiff sailed well, in spite of the attached weight. Towards the end of his battle, when he had been feeling so badly, it had all seemed like a dream. Now by looking at the fish and of his cut hands and by the feel of his back, he knew it had truly happened.
As he sailed, his head started to become a little unclear, with the fish alongside the boat he was not sure whether he was bringing the fish in, or whether it was bringing him in, one thing he was sure: “I am only than him through trickery and he meant me no harm.”
The first shark struck an hour later attracted by the spilled blood of the fish, feeling helpless; Santiago prepared his harpoon to battle the marauder. As the shark tore into the dead fish, the old man pierced the attacker’s brain with the harpoon. The shark was killed, but not before it had torn forty pounds of meat from the great fish. Santiago felt as though he himself had been hit.
It had, he thought, been too good to last, he wished that he were at home and had never hooked the fish, but he comforted “Man is not made for defeat.”
His own thoughts and baseball were all he had left. He knew now that his task was hopeless. When he reached the inner currents, there would be other sharks, however, he decided, it was a sin to be without hope, though he did not really understand a sin in keeling the fish. Yet, it seemed to be part of his destiny and the destiny of the fish. Moreover, he had loved, and still, loved, the fish. Perhaps that meant that his act was not a sin. Nevertheless, he reflected, he had enjoyed killing the shark, for he had killed it well.
After two hours, he saw two more sharks, he prepared for the coming battle by taking up aura to which he had lashed his knife, for the shark he had killed had disappointed into the sea with his encounter from under the skiff forcing Santiago to bring the boat around in order to reach the attacker. The old man killed both great fish, everything now felt wrong, and he wished that it had been a dream. “I should not have gone out so far, fish” he observed.
There was nothing left to do but to get his bleeding hands ready for the next attacker killed it, but snapped his knife in the process. His only remaining weapons were the gaff, the two hours. The killer and a short club. He knew that the sharks had beaten him but he decided to fight as long as he had weapons. Two more sharks appeared to attack the fish. They were successful in tearing at its flesh. And Santiago was only able to drive them off. Now, he did not want to look at the great fish for he knew that half of it had been destroyed. He expressed his feelings aloud to the fish. “Fish that you were. I am sorry that I went too far. I ruined us both.”
Around ten o’clock at night, he saw the reflected glare of the lights of Havana. By midnight, he was fighting again, and this time he struggle was truly hopeless. Sharks appeared in a pack and left only when nothing remained of the great fish.
Santiago knew then that he was truly beaten. He settled back, without thoughts or feelings to bring the boat to the harbor. “It is easy.” He thought, “When you are beaten. I never knew how easy it was.” Nothing had really beaten him he concludes; he had simply gone out too far.
The old man and the sea help in the identification of the novel themes. Probably the most common and clearest interpretation of the old man and the sea sees the book as an allegory of man’s struggle with life. Thus, Santiago is all men who confront the representative man through the parallels drawn between himself and Christ like Christ; he has both conviction and humanity. Also like Christ, he suffers alone for his faith.’ The faith of Santiago is, of course, far from orthodox religious faith. “It includes his pride in his vocation and his endure like Christ Santiago suffers, he too has torn hands and a back which knows pain. Yet neither is defeated. Both are, in a sense, beaten, Christ is crucified, and Santiago loses his great marlin. But even as Christ experienced the resurrection, so we are confident Santiago will rise once more to meet the future, for the boy will join him again and bring Santiago. While being representative man in grappling with life’s mysteries alone and enduring alone is exceptional man. His heart may of creation as his sympathy for but he is profoundly and defiantly “a strange old man.”
However, the story is not a Christian allegory. The Christian view of the universe is founded upon the proposition of the existence of god, whose benevolent purpose is supreme. No such purposes govern the universe of Santiago. His world is a mysterious, ambiguous govern the universe of Santiago. His world is of a cruelty and nobility, of death and benevolence. The sea, as both el mar and la mar is the image of this ambiguity. The same irony pervades the fisherman’s relationship wit the marlin. He loves and respects it; it is his brother. But he will kill it. For that is the nature of life.
…everything kills everything else in some way. Fishing kills me exactly as it keeps me alive.”
The novel has also, been interpreted as allegory in a different direction. The interpretation here sees the book as a parable of Hemingway’s own struggle with his art.
The old man and the sea, was crucial for the writer in his career. Magnificently what had failed in the last work succeeded splendidly in the next? Hemingway has never written more universally or meaningfully of himself than in this most externalized of all his stories like Santiago determining to justify his reputation as a skilled fisherman.
“The Old Man and the Sea is, from one angle, an account of Hemingway’s personal struggle, grim resolute and eternal, to write his best with his seriousness, his precision and his perfectionism. Hemingway saw his craft exactly as Santiago sees his. The fishing and the fisherman turn out to be metaphors so that they need almost no translation. Santiago is a master who sets his lines with more care than his colleagues. But he has no luck and more. It could be better to be lucky he thinks, but he will be skillfully, exact instead; then when the luck comes he will be ready for it. Once he was very strong. “The champion”. They called him, and he was beaten many good fisherman and some great ones.
“But there is only you.” Still there are many who do not know this, and his whole reputation is gravely imperiled by a streak of bad luck. And so the ex-Champion musters his confidence: “I may not be as strong as I think… but I know many tricks and I have resolution.”
Santiago succeeds gloriously in his self-appointed task is plain. He endures with fortitude. Santiago suffers triumphantly. And, in the end, he traces the future. The fault he has committed is no sin. It has been to much; he went out to far. His manhood to the limit and, in so doing, he brought misfortune upon himself and the great fish. But the lasting impression is one of the splendors of the old man’s daring and not of the folly of his endeavor.
Thus, in his allegory, Hemingway has displayed for: all to see the glory that is man, Proud and courageous, resolute and defiant.
The moral is not trivial. It shapes and fashion man’s approach to the universe and dictates his stance in the worlds. Thus, “Santiago sees it as an aspect of the human tragedy.”
The creatures of the world are like man. They inhabit the same universe and the must engage in the same struggle. The small, tried warbler that visits the skiff and the magnificent marlin that struggle so gloriously really share the same struggle is Santiago’s also. All that the can do is to fulfill his appointed task, born a fisherman, his prey. If he does it well, he will prove what a man is.’
Thus, there is no egoism or arrogance in Santiago’s confidence he has in his artistry. But his chief response is one of humble love and respect for his ocean brothers. The novel is thus a moving expression of that tragic kinship which unites all creation.