A commonplace among literary authorities is that a work of truly great literature invites reading on multiple levels or re-reading at various stages in the reader's life. At each of these readings, the enduring work presumably yields extended interpretations and expanded meanings. Certainly, The Old Man and the Sea fits that description. The novella invites, even demands, reading on multiple levels. For example, readers can receive the novella as an engaging and realistic story of Santiago, the old man; Manolin, the young man who loves him; and Santiago's last and greatest battle with a giant marlin.
The Old Man and the Sea Summary
The Old Man and the Sea Summary | GradeSaver
Hemingway's contention that what shows in The Old Man and the Sea is just "the tip of the iceberg" seems a particularly accurate assessment of the philosophical and socioeconomic foundations of his characters' behavior. Among the most obvious are the disparate codes that divide the fishermen of Santiago's village into two groups as critics such as Bickford Sylvester have pointed out. One group consists of fishermen like Santiago, who respect nature and see themselves as part of it. They rely on their skill and dedication to their craft to participate in nature's eternal pattern. These fishermen are part of a traditional fishing culture that is insulated and isolated from the industrialized world, bereft of modern technology, and bound to extended families and tightly knit communities.
'The Old Man and the Sea' Questions for Discussion
The year-old actor has spent the latter part of his career perfecting two seemingly incongruous character types—the bookish teacher and the merciless vigilante killer. But in Training Day , Man on Fire , American Gangster , and Safe House he cut an equally believable criminal, indulging in violence and other vices while plastered with a grim Bogart-like grin. He passes a lot of time reading leatherbound, gold-embossed classics of the Western canon; he spends the rest of his time killing. He makes easy friends with young, lost people in need of instruction; he makes enemies pretty quickly, too or he would, if only he allowed them to live long enough to develop opinions. This is all to say that The Equalizer synthesizes Washington's uber-character: a righteous assassin who is also a deep lover of, and sometimes-teacher of, literature.
At first glance, the story appears to be a simple tale of an old Cuban fisherman who catches an enormous fish, only to lose it. The old man eventually succeeds, then fails, and then wins again. It's the story of perseverance and the machismo of the old man against the elements. Santiago is an old man and a fisherman who has gone for months without catching a fish. Many are starting to doubt his abilities as an angler.