The Old Man and the Sea | Ernest Hemingway

Summary of: The Old Man and the Sea: The Hemingway Library Edition
By: Ernest Hemingway

Introduction

Get ready to embark on a journey with Santiago, an old Cuban fisherman who is struck by an 84-day streak of bad luck with no fish to catch. In this captivating story of perseverance and determination, ‘The Old Man and the Sea: The Hemingway Library Edition’ by Ernest Hemingway takes us through Santiago’s unwavering relationship with the sea, his friendship with the young Manolin, the challenges he faces, and his quest to triumph over adversity. This summary will guide you through the key themes and events that unfold in the novel, while examining the deeply rooted connection between man and nature.

The Unlucky Cuban Fisherman

Santiago, an old Cuban fisherman, hasn’t caught a fish for 84 days. The other fishermen pity him, but only the boy Manolin still admires him. With no family to feed, a lack of fish is worse than poverty. Though Manolin helps Santiago each night, his parents forbade him from going out to sea with the old man, believing him to be bad luck. Santiago himself prefers the boy to go with luckier boats, as they have been catching fish. Despite his bad luck, Santiago’s spirit remains unbroken.

A Boy’s Kindness

At the Terrace beach restaurant, a boy offers an old fisherman fresh bait for the following day. They talk about fishing, baseball, and Joe DiMaggio, who Santiago admires for his perfectionism. The boy ensures that Santiago has a warm supper and plans to get him essentials for the winter. Santiago sleeps and dreams of his youth when he fished off the coast of Africa.

A Master Fisherman’s Solitude

Santiago, an old fisherman, sets out to sea before dawn in hopes of catching a big haul. Unlike younger fishermen who use motorboats and trawl nets, he relies on his own skill and luck to catch fish. He watches the sea and sky, reading their signs to locate fish and rowing slowly towards his destination. Despite only catching a small ten-pounder, Santiago talks aloud to himself about aquatic life, feeling at peace with the solitude of the ocean.

The Old Man and the Sea

Santiago, an old and experienced fisherman, feels a tug on his line and knows a big fish is nibbling at the bait. After a long wait, the fish, a marlin, finally takes the bait and starts towing the boat out to sea. For hours on end, Santiago battles with the fish, holding the line tight while trying to tire it out. The old man’s back aches, and his hand cramps up, but he perseveres and continues to eat raw tuna to sustain himself. As the fish jumps out of the water, Santiago realizes the magnitude of his catch. It’s a protracted battle between two equals, and it’s uncertain who will come out on top.

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