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Symbolism of Old Man and the Sea

In the contemporary world, we usually experience derail and/or achievements in our endeavors and, in most cases, the results are usually unexpected. The changing lifestyle and the activities that individuals undertake in their daily chores characterize the individual’s perception of the overall life.  In the story The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway, Santiago elaborately reveals the impeccable livelihood in which individuals undergo by use of allegory, imagery and symbolism. In order to devise the real life situation of Santiago, the analysis will be focused on the major symbolism that has been portrayed in the story. Among the symbols revealed in the story includes; The Sea, the lions, the Mast, Manolin among others.

In the context, the lion symbolizes virility and youthfulness in an individual. The dream of the lion in the African beach is shown three times. Santiago is shown to be having a youthful and virile intuition and with that, aims at achieving anything he wants. The lions are considered strong, hunters, predator’s animals and in most occasions they get out of their territory in order to achieve their desires. Santiago possess the same characteristics as he wakes up early and out to hunt for the marlin. He is a fisherman and rows his boat strongly like a lion in search for his food; fish. In the final episode we are provided with an imagery of lion. This symbolizes hope of the eternal life in which the old man will live.  

Consequently, the sea is a symbol of isolation. Hemingway portrays that a man can definitely be able to prove himself worthy despite being isolated in a less conducive and inhabitable environment. According to the author, Santiago is shown to be isolated in an ‘inhabitable’ ecosystem with no single human being to comfort him. It is at this isolated place, with no recognition and even help, that Santiago meets the dreaded and ultimate challenge. The story shows that a man can easily overcome any challenge without relying on an individuals’ support. Individuals are there to give you support, but unconditionally, and where need be one can face the decisive challenges of life single handedly. In addition, some of the challenges we experience in our daily life does not require any support form other individuals but is directly superimposed to an individual.

In addition, Manolin in the story symbolizes hope. In life we imbibe our strength and knowledge by visualizing on supernatural being for hope. Despite the fact that Manolin’s father does not tolerate the issue of his son accompanying Santiago to the sea to fish, Manolin does all he can to ensure that he accompanies Santiago to the fishing ground. Santiago is believed to have been cursed and everybody shuns away from him but Manolin offers him both economic and emotional support in his operations. The concept of hope does not fully revolve in his life as in one instance, when fishing; he is portrayed by Hemingway as being hopeless. This is attested by 84 days he went fishing without catching a single fish.

Striving to achieve a youthful nature and virility by many individuals is nowadays at par. Many individuals, especially in the political sector, try to inculcate the strengths possessed by youths in order to achieve their desired goals and objective. In addition, many people live in isolation, either emotionally or psychological, and they rely on supernatural being. They always salvage hope in everything they undertake.

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