The Old Man and the Ses

The Old Man and the Sea

      In the Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway used Christian imagery several times.   On the surface, Hemingway’s novella is about an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who has been unable to catch a fish for 84 days.   Manolin, his young apprentice, has been forced by his parents to work with another luckier employer, although Manolin continues to care for Santiago and bring him food everyday.   In return Santiago tells Manolin stories about baseball legends. On the 85th day Santiago decides to venture out farther from port than usual, and catches a huge marlin.   Santiago battles for two days with the marlin, enduring many cuts and wounds, before he finally harpoons the giant fish. To his dismay, on the way home several Mako sharks attack the marlin, which is tied to the side of the boat, and eventually eat all of the marlin’s meat.   Upon his return to Cuba, Santiago finally gains the respect of the many fishermen who have so long ridiculed him.

      “The Old Man and the Sea is often called an allegory because it is full of reference to the Christian religion, and numerous similarities between Santiago and Christ.   On Santiago’s walls hang two pictures: one of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and another of the patron saint of Cuba.   The cuts that Santiago gets on his hands while at sea are similar to Christ’s crucifixion wounds.   The injuries inspire him to work harder even though his body is betraying him, just as Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ.   When Santiago catches the dolphin to eat and finds two flying fish in its stomach, it mirrors the act of Christ multiplying the loaves and fishes to feed the thousand that had gathered to hear him.   When Santiago stabs the marlin in the heart and its blood mixes with the water, it alludes to a wound Christ received while on the cross that bled water and blood.   When the Mako sharks continue to approach and attack the marlin, Hemingway describes the noise Santiago makes as one a man would make...