Friday 28 June 2019

Summary of Novel The old man and the sea

Summary of Novel The old man and the sea
The novel “The old man and the sea” is a great novel penned by a great writer Earnest Hemingway. It is the story of an old man who is a perfect fisherman of his area but unluckily he goes without catching a fish for eighty four days. His disciple, Manolin also leaves him because his parents want him to join some other boat because they think that the old man is too old to teach him anything. Other fishermen also make fun of his helplessness. Some of the fishermen go to the extent of saying that he should leave his profession and take rest because he is too old to catch any fish. He is also called “Salao” which is the worst form of being “Unlucky.” But as a typical Hemingway hero, what a man he is! He does not want to give in. He does not believe in the idea of being unlucky. He says: “My big fish must be somewhere.” This is the way he shows his optimism and decides to go on a fishing expedition with new zeal and fervor.
He goes far out into the sea. At the first stage, he dips the stick. He learns that a big fish is eating the bait. The fish stars swimming steadily. At sunset time, it is still the same. At the 2nd stage, the old man sees the fish. He is enamoured to see its bulk and beauty. But he is not afraid of this situation and says, “I will show him what a man can do and what a man can endure.” At last, at the 3rd stage, the marlin rises again. He harpoons the marlin. The marlin falls down dead. The old man secures the marlin alongside and sets sail for home.
But the forces of nature start working against him when he is ready to set sail for home. He has to face the attack of sharks. This is what gives an anticlimax to the success of the old man. The blood of the marlin attracts the sharks. A shark comes but he kills it. He is not afraid of this situation and utters: “But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.
After this, the old man kills two more sharks. But, they take away with them a quarter of the marlin’s best meat. Then another shark comes and breaks his knife. The old man kills two more sharks with the help of his club. He is not ready to give up his struggle. He is determined and decides: “I will fight them until I die.”
After this the old man kills a pack of sharks. But the club and tiller are also gone. During the night, some sharks come but he ignores them and sails on. When he comes back, the marlin is nothing else but a skeleton.
Having been faced with this complicated and crowning adventure, the old man comes back and reaches hi shack. Having got tired, he sleeps deeply.
Manolin who is worried about the old man, starts weeping to see the plight of the old man. The old man tells him he has lost the battle against the marlin and the sharks. He believes that they have truly defeated him. However, Manolin shows great strength of spirit and replies with complete faith that he hasn’t lost the battle. The old man claims: “I am not lucky”, Manolin replies “I shall bring the luck with me.” Both the old man and the boy decide to fish together again. He again goes in the lap of sleep and dreams of lions on the beaches of Africa.
Having read the story of the novel, most of the readers opine that the old man has lost the battle. No doubt, Santiago has lost the battle because he is unable to achieve his target. But there is another school of critics who opines that “The real thing is not to win. The thing that matters is how you fight against your adversary.” It means we can say without any hesitation and fear of contradiction that the old man has lost the battle physically but not spiritually. Even after facing a failure in catching marlin and fighting against the sharks, he is still ready to go on a longer voyage with Manolin to try his luck. Failure does not disappoint him and that is the spirit that matters above everything.

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