Talk:The Old Man and the Sea

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This is a peice of Coursework in the United Kingdom for the GCSE curriculum. This peice of Coursework is currently being studied by those who enterd Year 10 in 2006. 11:03, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Novel or novella?[edit]

In writing this article, I refered to the book throughout as a novel. This denotation has many factors to support it: the book received the Award of Merit Medal for the Novel from the American Academy of Letters, Carlos Baker included it as the subject of his critical anthology Critiques of Four Major Novels, Jobes refers to it as a novel. Some critics, like Waldmeir, avoid any difficulty and often call it simply a book. Still others would maintain that it is better described as a novella; the current Scribner's publication labels it as such on the back cover. In the midst of all of this, I am currently leaning toward recasting the article to include the usage of the term novella (as per the notions of its respective article). Would anyone like to comment on this? --DanielNuyu 08:37, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I will throughout now change all references to the book to novella (further impetus was it being listed at List of novellas). Still, feel free to comment on this consideration. --DanielNuyu 06:07, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I still don't really understand the difference of Novel and Novella. Is it basically the same?
It is basically one of length and also age of the work. See the article on "Epic", "Novel" and "Novella". :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:16, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

It's described as a novelette in the Oxford Companion to Amercian Literature, but novella and novelette are modern inventions anyway. I think it should be listed as it was described at the time of publishing with a suitable reference. Mighty Antar (talk) 23:18, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

In literature you will find it described as a novel, novella, or novelette. This depends on the definition of the terms, and as there is no globally recognized or binding use of the words, [you would find quotes supporting all sides :(] I suggest that the use of these terms should be as defined by their definitions in their respecting Wikipedia articles. 10.000-70.000 words should be a novella. Life magazine called it a novel because it was first published in their magazine, and they wanted to sell a lot of issues by advertising a "whole novel". You can't trust all the quotes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Singularity Rider (talkcontribs) 06:59, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with this. I might actually have a source - will look in the biographies. This article needs a fair amount of work anyway. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 00:05, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I found what most people might consider a fairly reliable contemporary source as a starting point and have amended the article accordingly. Mighty Antar (talk) 01:52, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I saw it. It's a fine source. I have lots in the biographies and will probably write an entire genre section for it. Need to put it together first. Thanks btw. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 01:55, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

A question of wording.[edit]

In what way is the criticism of The Old Man And The Sea referred to in the first paragraph "incongruous"? In this context that word doesn't seem to be correct, although I can see why it was chosen. As I know that this article is primarily the work of one contributor, I thought I should ask about this before adjusting it. --Chips Critic 21:55, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • Incongruous ("lacking in harmony; incompatible" –American Heritage) insofar as the work has been afforded a wide range of critical interpretation and opinion; that is, the several critical readings are themselves without harmony with one another (not a statement about whether either/any view is "correct"); I hope you understand what I mean, and if you can conjure a better way of wording it, feel free. --DanielNuyu 22:13, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Of course, I see what you mean. I initially mistook the phrase "incongruous criticism" as meaning "criticism incompatible with the work under discussion", which wouldn't fit. I think replacing "incongruous" with "disparate" would eliminate the possibility of confusion. I'll change it to that now. Thanks for your response. --Chips Critic 23:53, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    • Okay, good. I hope that makes it more clear. --DanielNuyu 00:26, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • I'm confused to what this line means:

Most biographers maintain that the years following Hemingway's publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1940 until 1952 Spanish Civil War]] (For Whom the Bell Tolls).

It appears to be missing some parts. Nik.martin 19:51, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Animated short trailer[edit]

Trailer How about including this in "See also"? Paulo Oliveira 11:09, 20 May 2005 (UTC) i like books ;) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:51, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Further listening.[edit]

Batting for Hemingway

"When Mike Atherton captained the England side, he kept two pieces of literature in his bag: a Teddy Roosevelt quote defending the man of action against the critic and the short stories of Ernest Hemingway. He explains why he found solace in Hemingway’s vision and in his understanding of the necessary brutality of sport played at the highest level. He also talks to fellow Hemingway fans Hugh MacIlvanney, Michael Palin (of Monty Python fame), and Sir Christopher Ondatje."

BBC Radio 4 Documentary available online here: enjoy, its a good listen... --Edzillion 12:08, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Gone Missing[edit]

This article seems to have gone missing....on the day it is featured. I was looking forward to reading it, though it seems that someone has gone and deleted it. I'm slightly annoyed.KevinHFeeley 14:57, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Addendum: Nevermind KevinHFeeley 15:00, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Citation from Sparknotes?[edit]

I believe the whole plot summary of the novel is from SparkNotes. To Wit:

From the article:

The Old Man and the Sea recounts an epic battle between an old, experienced fisherman and a giant marlin said to be the largest catch of his life.

It opens by explaining that the fisherman, named Santiago, has gone 84 days without catching a fish. He is apparently so unlucky that his young apprentice, Manolin, has been forbidden by his parents to sail with the old man and been ordered to fish with more successful fishermen. Still dedicated to the old man, however, the boy visits Santiago's shack each night, hauling back his fishing gear, feeding him, and discussing American baseball—most notably Santiago's idol, Joe DiMaggio. Santiago tells Manolin that on the next day, he will venture far out into the Gulf to fish, confident that his unlucky streak is near its end, as ashley goes narwhal hunting.

Thus on the eighty-fifth day, Santiago sets out alone, taking his skiff far into the Gulf. He sets his lines and, by noon of the first day, a big fish that he is sure is a marlin takes his bait. Unable to pull in the great marlin, Santiago instead finds the fish pulling his skiff. Two days and two nights pass in this manner, during which the old man bears the tension of the line with his body. Though he is wounded by the struggle and in pain, Santiago expresses a compassionate appreciation for his adversary, often referring to him as a brother.

On the third day of the ordeal, the fish begins to circle the skiff, indicating his tiredness to the old man. Santiago, now completely worn out and almost in delirium, finds the strength to stab the marlin with a harpoon and kill him during one of his great lunges out of the water.

Santiago straps the marlin to his skiff and heads home, thinking about the high price the fish will bring him at the market and how many people he will feed. The old man determines that because of the fish's great dignity, no one will be worthy of eating the marlin.

While Santiago continues his journey back to the shore, sharks are attracted to the trail of blood left by the marlin in the water. The first, a great mako shark, Santiago kills with his harpoon, losing that weapon in the process. He makes a new harpoon by strapping his knife to the end of an oar to help ward off the next line of sharks; in total, seven sharks are slain. But by night, the sharks have devoured the marlin's entire carcass, leaving only its skeleton. The old man castigates himself for sacrificing the marlin. Finally reaching the shore before dawn on the next day, he struggles on the way to his shack, carrying the heavy mast on his shoulder. Once home, he slumps onto his bed and enters a very deep sleep.

Ignorant of the old man's journey, a group of fishermen gathers the next day around the boat where the fish's skeleton is still attached. Tourists at the nearby café mistakenly take it for a shark. Manolin, worried during the old man's endeavor, cries upon finding him safe asleep. The boy brings him newspapers and coffee. When the old man wakes, they promise to fish together once again. Upon his return to sleep, Santiago dreams of lions on the African beach.

vs Sparknotes:

The Old Man and the Sea is the story of an epic struggle between an old, seasoned fisherman and the greatest catch of his life. For eighty-four days, Santiago, an aged Cuban fisherman, has set out to sea and returned empty-handed. So conspicuously unlucky is he that the parents of his young devoted apprentice and friend, Manolin, have forced the boy to leave the old man in order to fish in a more prosperous boat. Nevertheless, the boy continues to care for the old man upon his return each night. He helps the old man tote his gear to his ramshackle hut, secures food for him, and discusses the latest developments in American baseball, especially the trials of the old man’s hero, Joe DiMaggio. Santiago is confident that his unproductive streak will soon come to an end, and he resolves to sail out farther than usual the following day.

On the eighty-fifth day of his unlucky streak, Santiago does as promised, sailing his skiff far beyond the island’s shallow coastal waters and venturing into the Gulf Stream. He prepares his lines and drops them. At noon, a big fish, which he knows is a marlin, takes the bait that Santiago has placed one hundred fathoms deep in the waters. The old man expertly hooks the fish, but he cannot pull it in. Instead, the fish begins to pull the boat.

Unable to tie the line fast to the boat for fear the fish would snap a taut line, the old man bears the strain of the line with his shoulders, back, and hands, ready to give slack should the marlin make a run. The fish pulls the boat all through the day, through the night, through another day, and through another night. It swims steadily northwest until at last it tires and swims east with the current. The entire time, Santiago endures constant pain from the fishing line. Whenever the fish lunges, leaps, or makes a dash for freedom, the cord cuts him badly. Although wounded and weary, the old man feels a deep empathy and admiration for the marlin, his brother in suffering, strength, and resolve.

On the third day the fish tires, and Santiago, sleep-deprived, aching, and nearly delirious, manages to pull the marlin in close enough to kill it with a harpoon thrust. Dead beside the skiff, the marlin is the largest Santiago has ever seen. He lashes it to his boat, raises the small mast, and sets sail for home.hi While Santiago is excited by the price that the marlin will bring at market, he is more concerned that the people who will eat the fish are unworthy of its greatness.

As Santiago sails on with the fish, the marlin’s blood leaves a trail in the water and attracts sharks. The first to attack is a great mako shark, which Santiago manages to slay with the harpoon. In the struggle, the old man loses the harpoon and lengths of valuable rope, which leaves him vulnerable to other shark attacks. The old man fights off the successive vicious predators as best he can, stabbing at them with a crude spear he makes by lashing a knife to an oar, and even clubbing them with the boat’s tiller. Although he kills several sharks, more and more appear, and by the time night falls, Santiago’s continued fight against the scavengers is useless. They devour the marlin’s precious meat, leaving only skeleton, head, and tail. Santiago chastises himself for going “out too far,” and for sacrificing his great and worthy opponent. He arrives home before daybreak, stumbles back to his shack, and sleeps very deeply.

The next morning, a crowd of amazed fishermen gathers around the skeletal carcass of the fish, which is still lashed to the boat. Knowing nothing of the old man’s struggle, tourists at a nearby café observe the remains of the giant marlin and mistake it for a shark. Manolin, who has been worried sick over the old man’s absence, is moved to tears when he finds Santiago safe in his bed. The boy fetches the old man some coffee and the daily papers with the baseball scores, and watches him sleep. When the old man wakes, the two agree to fish as partners once more. The old man returns to sleep and dreams his usual dream of lions at play on the beaches of Africa.

Is a citation required here? RedNovember 06:46, 24 February 2006 (UTC)


"Quite the contrary, the geniuses from cite the works of Hemmingway as clear plagiarism of the story of Jesus Christ."

As it is does not conform to the style of the rest of the article, as is it not clear who ' ' are, nor specifically why they are 'geniuses', especially in a section describing the views of eminent literary critics, titled 'Critical Views'. Tsop 02:09, 11 March 2006 (UTC)


Should any note be made of the quote Hemingway supposedly gave?

"There isn’t any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know." Miguel Cervantes 22:50, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

I've got a picture...[edit]

A 2003 Scribner edition of the book

Okay. I have a new picture of the novel(la), but I'm so stupid I'm afriad I'l stick it in the wrong place. :P Well, here it is....where should I put it? Please don't get mad at me as I actually have a brain but only use 5% of it. :P --OreosTalkContribs 23:30, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Wow, that's a pretty high-quality scan. I'll go ahead and add it near the end of Critical views. --DanielNuyu 00:44, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Yay. Thanks. :D OreosTalkContribs 15:55, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Mr Vishal Prakash Dudhane -- Vishal1976 --Ernest Hemingway[edit]

I read this great noval when i was in college , not the origanal English but a transalation in Marathi language by reknown Marathi author P.L.Deshpande. At that time i was undegoing most tencious , hard , diffcult part of my life . I was around 22 years of my age .My mind was full of questions and delima's. I have attempted an unsuccesful suicide attempt by taking large dose of pills given by phycologist.I was in very Mental illness nervious breakdown mentality. At that time i remembe very helpfull books which brought a ray of hope in my life is this book of Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea. after my attempt i was kept in company of my grandfather Shree Balasaheb Rosaheb Bhor during daytime when i was alone at my home. His company use to give me large mental relife. He talks about olden day's , our Maratha society , our culter and how we should behave. I use to ask him many question and he use to answer it in traditional , old manner. I slowly came out of my depration and mental sickness and overcome from bad days of my life. In 1999 i sarted my own business as a textile merchant in Pune city. The company and words of my mother's father i.t my grandfather Shree Raosaheb Balasaheb Bhor gave me my new life where i am now. I see The Old Man of this noval of Ernest Hemingway 's The Old Man and the Sea . How the fisherman give courage and words to the boy in the book and at the end he proved himself. Allthough poor , not succesful in modern world but have faith in life and learnt very much from it . Same way as my grand father is this old fisherman . Allthough my grandfather is not successfull in modern meaning but he have all the life in his life.And i Mr Vishal Prakash Dudhane - as Vishal 1976 -- From Pune city India is the boy Santiago in this book. My grandfather gave me a look to see the world and an eye to watch the life. I have very deep and good impression and efect on my entire life from both my grandfather Shree Balasaheb Raosaheb Bhor and this masterpice from Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea. I have read the views from others in this article but i am not happy. I am not sure and doughtfull that how much others and they have understood this book Ernest Hemingway 's The Old Man and the Sea. To understand the old man in this book is not very easy but you have to undergo from all the pain , feelings and harshness of the life he had. The old man is an icon of our glorious olden days and he have showed the olden , traditional values of our old society.

Split tags for films[edit]

It may not be a bad idea to make articles for The Old Man and the Sea (1958 film), The Old Man and the Sea (1990 film), and The Old Man and the Sea (1999 film). I was waiting for someone perhaps to go ahead and start them, but since no one has thus far, I thought I'd remove the tags and add the suggestion here (since there's three tags for the tiny section and it makes it look quite cluttered). If/when these articles are started, we can point to a disambig page for The Old Man and the Sea. --DanielNuyu 22:04, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, I've started the 1999 one. Esn 06:08, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Character Bios[edit]

Someone should add one. 27 November 2006 (UTE)

"Santiago's story"[edit]

Since I haven't read this book since high school, I was confused by sentences like "Hemingway had initially planned to use Santiago's story, which became The Old Man and the Sea" under the "Background and publication" heading. To someone who hasn't read the book, that sentence reads like Hemingway adapted a story written by someone named Santiago, since this is the article's first mention of the name. I think a simple solution would be to change it to "Hemingway had initially planned to used The Old man and the Sea as part of a larger work." Or at least include a reference to Santiago's character in the introduction. Drogue 01:58, 5 December 2006 (UTC)


I would hope, that someone with intelligence would attempt to state the different possible meanings of Old Man and The Sea. What Hemmingway said or not, there is obviously deeper meaning. Any help would be greatly appreciated, and should be included in this article, rather than just the surface value.

It is not indicated where the spoiler starts[edit]

It is only indicated where the spoiler ends. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:21, 2 February 2007 (UTC).

Changes to Symbolism of character[edit]

I am going to improve the section Symbolism of character, which is, from a literary standpoint, somewhat lacking. It provides one series of interpretations, while much of the beauty and success of the work can be attributed to the many interpretations that are possible.

I am giving a reference to Ivan Kashkin, who summarizes the early criticism of The Old Man and the Sea. I don't have time to trace the origins of the ideas.

I am also removing the repeated plot summary from within the section.

Also, the title of "Santiago's story" is On the Blue Water, Esquire, April 1936. --Evgeni Sergeev 06:39, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Is there any symbolism in the names? Santiago and Manolin. I am sure this rings a bell. Somehow these names seem to be very natural. --Evgeni Sergeev 12:15, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Someone removed this section without explanation. I reverted this removal of content, but if someone would like to justify deleting it I'm certainly willing to hear them out. --JayHenry 03:50, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

to interpret "old man and the sea" in the light of rigid confines of Christian religion would be a folly, there is not a guilty or a weak character in the novel. Hemingway's basic value is manhood. He respects lack of pride and does not find it violating a mans self respect, wants peace but cannot tolerate injustice and is ready for a fight as the duty of a man, this is exemplified in his fighting off the sharks ( he wishes they would not come but lashes at them with full ferocity to defend the marlin which he feels is honorable ). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:05, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Publishing Location[edit]

Where was it published? Push It Baby!! ..Dats Muh Song!!..=] (Tay) 00:16, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Oldmansea petrov.jpg[edit]

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'The old man castigates himself for sacrificing the marlin'[edit]

How did the old man 'sacrifice' the marlin exactly? From reading the plot summary, it sounded like the sharks just plain took it, no sacrifice involved. Vranak 06:17, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Plot Summary[edit]

I must comment that the plot summary is incorrect in at least one aspect: "Santiago straps the marlin to his skiff and heads home, thinking about the high price the fish will bring him at the market and how many people he will feed. However, the old man determines that because of the fish's great dignity, no one will be worthy of eating the marlin." This section is incorrect. In my edition, (1987 Scribner Classic/Colliers paperback), the man realizes that no one is worthy to eat the fish on page 75, but then he doesn't harpoon the fish until page 93. I would be greatly appreciative if someone would be kind enough to remedy this. Thank you (talk) 01:55, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Fixed Evenfiel (talk) 15:58, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

It's easy to suppose, from reading the plot summary, that "Santiago" and "The Old Man" are two different people:

Santiago, now completely worn out and almost in delirium, uses all the strength he has left in him to pull the fish onto its side and stab the marlin with a harpoon, thereby ending the long battle between the old man and the tenacious fish.

There's no reason to veer between "Santiago" and "the Old Man" within the same summary, much less within the same sentence. Notice also, the see-sawing between "the fish" and "the marlin," as if these also were two different entities.VDanger (talk) 22:12, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Background and publication[edit]

In this section of the article, it states: The title was misprinted on the cover of an early edition as The Old Man and the Sea. What does this mean? I do not see a misprint. Is there a typo? Thanks. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 13:27, 5 March 2009 (UTC))

I believe it was misprinted as The Old Men and the Sea on the first Penguin edition! Ben Finn (talk) 14:04, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

arrested devolpment[edit]

arrested devolpment reference should also be included in a pop culture references. (talk) 22:23, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

The Old Man and the Sea and LIFE[edit]

The Old Man and the Sea was originally published in Life Magazine... and the complete issue which contains the novella has been digitized and is available on Google Books [1]. Should a link be provided on the article? I'm confused by this- tOMatS must be copyrighted and probably shouldn't legally be available for free online, which would mean that Wiki can't link to it- but it's on Google.theBOBbobato (talk) 19:19, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Santiago is NOT T-pain[edit]

I'm not sure who Santiago becomes when he moves it America, but I'm pretty sure it isn't T-pain. Also, I don't think I'm On a Boat was written by Santiago. Someone probably needs to fix this up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nickridiculous (talkcontribs) 17:07, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Literary Significance and Criticism Section[edit]

The criticism section, I feel, needs some polishing. It is filled with incoherent sentences and inappropriate uses of certain words. It is also very badly structured or not structured at all. Sorry if I'm being a little harsh. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- If I may, the Wall Street Journal included a biography on July 2, 2011, written by biographer Jeffrey Meyers, which claims OMATS is an ironic parody of sorts:

"'The Old Man and the Sea' (1952) was his most popular and most overrated novel. Serialized in Life magazine, this deliberately ironic and mock-serious fable—with simple-minded dialogue and painfully obvious Christian symbolism—expressed his contempt for the reading public, the critics and religion."

Is this a common opinion? I disagree with it and will not add it, but thought it should be noted here at least, if not included in the article itself. I leave it to others to judge. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Critics attacking popular novels is common, yes. But Meyers is misreading Hemingway here and he knows it. (And he knows that WSJ readers won't care to find the facts.) In personal letters Hemingway always esteemed Old Man, once calling it "the epilogue to all of my writing" (Selected Letters p 757) and "the prose I have been working for all my life" (Selected Letters p 738).
The general critical opinion is that The Old Man and the Sea is another of the 'involuntary self parodies' that Hemingway unfailingly produced in his late career. He had lost touch with both his technique and with whatever vision of life his had in his early novels and stories. It's overly long, the dialogue is stilted, and it has the sort of feel-good ending that he would never have included in the 1920s or 1930s. It also wallowed in sentimentality to some extent. Hemingway was a big American celebrity by that point, which is part of the reason the book was so popular. Critical opinion was divided, but by the end of the decade most critics were not fans of this book. Hemingway himself praised it because he didn't want to think his powers had deserted him. Before Across the River was published, he told Lilian Ross (in the notorious New Yorker profile) that it might be his best book ever. (talk) 15:02, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

The section is terrible. I tried to tidy it a bit a few days ago but the edits were overturned. Hopefully someone will come along and work on it. In the meantime, if people agree some of it can be deleted. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 23:19, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

I think it has been improved significantly since 2011. Keep it. (talk) 14:23, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

I worry that the criticism section seems a little light on well known Hemmingway experts like H. R. Stoneback. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:00, 16 October 2013 (UTC)


White or Blue[edit]

The article doesn't say if it was a white or blue marlin. Toddst1 (talk) 22:14, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Made him a celebrity?[edit]

The Old Man and the Sea became a Book of the Month Club selection, and made Hemingway a celebrity.

Hemingway had been a celebrity for at least twenty-five years before this book came out. Valetude (talk) 13:42, 1 November 2016 (UTC)