The Old Man And The Sea By Ernest Hemingway
Introduction: Santiago after 84 days without taking a fish is soon to catch something bigger than he could ever imagine It is his courage and his perseverance of character that allows him to go out to sea every day in his weather-beaten boat.
Amid the ridicule of younger fishermen, Santiago finds courage in his friendship with a young boy, Manolin, who has fished with Santiago since he was five years old. But due to “bad luck” from Santiago, Manolin ‘s parents will no longer allow the boy to fish with Santiago.
This novella shows the result of one man’s stamina in the midst of defeat, and how a young boy ‘s friendship gives him hope. The Old Man and the
Sea won author Ernest Hemingway the Pulitzer Prize in 1953.
The narrative occurs during the 1940s. Even though the opening and closing scenes take place on land in a small fishing village in Cuba, the dominant setting is the Gulf Stream of Cuba beach. Hemingway claims that the sea is the last great unexplored place on earth and this research goes deep into the nature of this enigmatic setting.
The Old Man and the Sea is the story of a war between an old fisherman and a large marlin. The novel opens with the fisherman, named Santiago, who has spent 84 days at sea without catching a fish. In reality, he is so unhappy that his young learner, Manolin, was barred from sailing with the old man by his father, and was ordered to fish with more prosperous and fortunate fishermen. Every night, however, the boy visits the shack of Santiago, carrying his fishing gear, getting him food and talking about American baseball and his favourite player Joe DiMaggio. Santiago assures Manolin that he will dive into the Gulf Stream the next day to fish with faith that his tragic past is near to its end. Thus, on the eighty-fifth day, Santiago ventured by himself, taking his skiff far to the Gulf Stream. He’s setting his lines, and by noon on the first day, a great fish that he’s sure is a marlin taking his bait. Incapable of pulling the big marlin, Santiago instead finds the fish pulling his skiff. Two days and two nights go by in this way, during which the old man bears the tension of the line with his body. Though wounded in struggle and pain, Santiago expresses sympathy for his antagonist (marlin), often referring to him as a brother. He also determines that, because of the great dignity of the fish, no one would be worthy of eating the marlin.
The fish begins to circle the skiff on the third day of the fight, showing his tiredness to the old man. Already completely drained and almost in delirium, Santiago uses all the energy he has left in him to pull the fish to his side and stab the marlin with a harpoon, ending the long battle between the old man and the shark. Santiago ties the marlin to his skiff ‘s side and returns home, worrying of the high price that the fish can get him to the market and how many people he feeds. As Santiago makes his journey back to the shore, sharks are drawn to the blood left in the water by the marlin.
Santiago kills the first, a great shark with his harpoon, then he loses that weapon. Through attaching his knife to the end of an oar to help kill sharks he makes a new harpoon; in all, five sharks are killed and several more are scared away. Yet the sharks kept coming, and by sunset the sharks had almost completely eaten the marlin, leaving a skeleton consisting only of its backbone, tail and head.
Eventually, before dawn on the next day, Santiago fights on the way to his shack, carrying the mast on his shoulder. At home, he falls to his bed and falls into a deep sleep. The next day, a group of fishermen crowd around the boat where the skeleton of the fish is still attached. One of the fishermen measures to be 18 feet (5.5 m) from nose to tail. Tourists at the nearby café wrongly take it for a shark. Manolin, worried during the old man ‘s venture, cries out to find him safe to sleep. The boy’s going to bring him newspapers and coffee. When the old man wakes up, they promise to fish together once again. Upon his return to sleep, Santiago dreams of his youth — the lions of an African beach.
‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated.’, this line is the main theme in the story. Hemingway suggests that, although a person may lose everything in the process of living, the final triumph of the human spirit results from being skilful, brave and ambitious. Hemingway rejects the traditional happy ending in which Santiago, the poor old fisherman, would bring home the great fish and sell it on the market for a large amount of money. Instead, Santiago brings only the bare skeleton of the marlin to the port, earning no money and still getting a far greater prize: instead of triumphing over nature, he achieves unity with it.
Another important theme in this novel revolves around the relationship between Santiago and Manolin. The old man teaches the boy a lot of important things like how to fish and how to live with wisdom and dignity, while the old man also has a great need for the boy, especially when he is alone at sea and fishes the big fish. During his trying experience with the marlin, the old man said repeatedly, ‘I wish I had the boy. The thematic statement, ‘No one should be alone in their old age,’ refers to the loneliness of the old man and emphasizes the relationship of respect and love of the characters.
One more major theme is unity with nature. Santiago loves, and respects, the fish he kills. The old man finds it hard to express the paradoxical love he feels for the fish: ‘I don’t understand these things,’ he thinks, ‘I do not understand these things,’ he thinks, ‘but it is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers’ Santiago also speaks and loves flying fish, dolphins and the noble marlin. The sea is also a part of nature, possibly a major presence of the book. Santiago thinks of the sea as a woman, thinks of it as ‘la mar,’ which is what people call it in Spanish when they love her,’ while the younger fisherman thinks of the sea as the masculine’ el mar ‘ and consider it ‘a contestant or a place or even an enemy.’
Santiago: Santiago, the old man in the title of the novella, is a Cuban fisherman who’s had an extended streak of bad luck. Despite his fishing experiences, he was unable to catch a fish for 84 days. His talents are modest, but he displays a justified pride. His knowledge of the sea and its creatures, and his art, is unparalleled and helps him maintain a sense of optimism regardless of circumstances.
A challenge has been presented to Santiago throughout his life in order to test his strength and endurance. His greatest obstacle is the marlin he fights with for three days. Paradoxically, even though Santiago eventually loses the shark, the marlin is his biggest triumph, too.
The marlin: Santiago hooks the marlin, which is eighteen feet long, on the first afternoon of his fishing trip. Because of the size of the marlin, Santiago is unable to pull the fish in, and the two are engaged in a struggle. The fishing line serves as a symbol of the fraternal connection that Santiago feels with the fish. Later, when the captured marlin is destroyed by sharks, Santiago also feels destroyed.
Manolin: Manolin is the apprentice and assistant to Santiago. The old man first took him out of the boat when he was only five years old. Due to Santiago ‘s recent bad luck, Manolin’s parents forced the boy to go out on another fishing boat. Manolin, however, is still deeply concerned about the old man, to whom he continues to look as an advisor. His love for Santiago is unmistakable when the two talk about baseball and the young boy asks the villagers for help in improving the poor conditions of the old man.
Joe DiMaggio: Though DiMaggio never appears in a novel, he still plays a significant role. Santiago worships him as a model of strength and commitment, and his thoughts turn to DiMaggio every time he needs to be reassured by his own strength. In spite of a painful bone spur that might have crippled another player, DiMaggio went on to secure a triumphant career. He was a centre fielder for the New York Yankees from 1936 to 1951 and is often considered the best all-rounder ever in that position.
Santiago, the old Cuban fisherman, is the protagonist. While he is disappointed that in eighty-four days he has not caught a single fish, he is still joyful and hopeful, full of self-confidence and courage in the most difficult circumstances. Under strain, he earns the reader’s sympathy and respect for his compassion and humbleness qualities. Santiago is still a winner though he loses his giant fish.
The antagonist is the sea, a symbol of survival, which robs his final victory from Santiago. The main antagonist at sea is the party of sharks swallowing the giant fish. Because the sea also provides its livelihood for the old fisherman, he sees the sea as a threat rather than an enemy. The sea also helps Santiago to show unparalleled endurance.
The climax of the story is when Santiago kills the fish and its blood draws the eager sharks nearby. His hopes of taking his huge fish home are gone when the sharks attack and eat the fish. The End at the level of the simple plot, the story ends as a tragedy, because the sharks greedily eat the old man ‘s prize (marlin) while at the deeper symbolic level the old man becomes heroic. He has conquered the sea (life) and the sharks (life ‘s cruel problems) by proving that humanity has the capacity to fight, to show grace under pressure, to survive, and to win, no matter how great the battle may be. Personal victory is all-important, and it becomes irrelevant whether a man obtains a visible prize.
The importance of the dream of the Lions on the Beach Santiago dreams his pleasant dream of the lions playing three times on the beaches of Africa. The first time is the night before he departs on his three-day fishing expedition, the second time he sleeps on the boat for a couple of hours in the middle of his fight with the marlin, and the third time at the very end of the book.
Indeed, the sober promise of triumph and regeneration with which the novel ends is supported by the final image of the lions. Since Santiago associates the lions with his youth, the dream indicates the circular nature of life. In addition, because Santiago imagines lions, wild animals, playing, his dream reflects a harmony between the opposing forces — life and death, love and hatred, destruction and regeneration — of nature.
Q. Describe the emotional attachment between Manolin and Santiago Or Character sketch of Manolin.
Relationship between the two: – “The Old Man and The Sea” is a short but powerfully affecting novel of Hemingway. In the very beginning of the novel, we come to know that Manolin had been the old man’s apprentice. When the old man could not catch a fish for forty days, Manolin’s parents shifted him to another boat. Even then Manolin used to help Santiago. He informed him that he again wanted to go with him for fishing. The old man was his well-wisher. Manolin wanted to help the old man and learn from him. Their conversation shows the deep emotional attachment between the two.
A source of inspiration and encouragement: – The boy had a very high opinion about Santiago. The following remarks of the boy show his love for him. He said, “There are many good fishermen and some great once. But there is only you.” These remarks made the old man happy. The way he served and loved the old man shows how sincerely and deeply both of them were attached to each other.
Emotional attachment: – The old man was in the habit of thinking aloud. When the big fish swam away with the boat and whenever he found himself lacking in courage, the thought of the boy helped him in regaining his strength, courage and confidence.
After his fight against the sharks, he said that the sharks had beaten him, the boy said, “He did not beat you. Not the fish.” It shows that both of them were deeply attached to each other. This relationship between the Youth and Old Age is very impressive.
Q. Describe The Old Man and the Sea (Novel by Ernest Hemingway) – Struggle with Sharks.
Struggle with Sharks/Keynote
The Keynote: – “The Old Man and The Sea” is an interesting and impressive novel by Hemingway. While fighting against the sharks, the hero of the novel touches the keynote. He declares, “But a man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” During his fight with the sharks, he proves it that even in case of losing the battle; a man may gain a lot. The great thing is not the victory but the struggle.
The first attack of Sharks: – Santiago succeeded in killing the big marlin after a continuous struggle for 48 hours. After one hour, the first shark attacked the big fish. It was a big shark.
The shark hit the marlin. The old man hit the harpoon into the shark’s head. The shark went down slowly but took the harpoon with it.
The second attack: – After two hours he saw two more sharks attacked the big marlin. He took up the knife lashed to it. One shark went under the skiff and pull on the marlin. The second hit the marlin where it had already been hit. The old man drove the knife into the second shark’s eye. The shark slid down slowly.
The third attack: – The next shark came after a while and hit the marlin. Just before sunset, two more sharks attacked. He clubbed them away as forcefully as he could. They slid down after snapping some piece of flesh from the marlin. It was now badly ruined. Anyhow, the old man was proud of his successful fight with the sharks.
Fight at night: – More sharks came and attacked the marlin. The old man clubbed at their heads but he knew that he was fighting a lost battle. When he reached the harbour, his big fish was all but a skeleton.
In short, the old man had proved that it is not the victory that counts; it is the struggle.
Q. What memorable incident of his life did the old man recall?
Ans. While on the sea, the old man recalled a memorable incident of his life. He had played the hand game competition with a Negro. The trial of strength continued for one day and one night. Each one was trying to bring the other’s hand down to the table. Blood came from the fingernails of Santiago’s and Negro’s hand. The people suggested that the match should end in a draw, but Santiago who was then young did not agree. At last, Santiago defeated his opponent and he was declared the champion. This established his reputation among the fishermen.
Q. How did the old man compare himself with the big fish hooked by him?
Ans. ‘Comparing himself with the big fish the old man said:
‘When once through any treachery, it had been necessary to him to make a choice—his choice been to stay in the deep dark water far out beyond all snares and traps and treacheries. My choice was to go there to find him beyond all people—beyond all people in the world. Now we are joined together and have been since noon. And no one to help either one of us.’
Q. How far the old man was familiar with the various kinds of fish in the sea?
Ans. The old man was very much conversant with all the creatures of the sea. He could minutely differentiate in their movements and actions. Once during the night two porpoise
(small whales) came around the boat and he could hear them rolling and blowing. He could tell the difference between the blowing noise the male made and the sighing blow of the female.
‘They play and make jokes’.
Q. Had the old man any mysticism about turtles? What were his ideas about them?
Ans. The old man had no mysticism about turtles although he had gone in turtle boats for many years. Most people were heartless about turtles because a turtle heart will beat for hours after he had been cut up and butchered. But the old man had a sympathetic attitude towards them. The old man thought I have such a heart too and my feet and hands are like theirs. He believed in their strength. He ate the white eggs to give himself strength. He ate them all though may be strong in September and October for the truly big fish. He also drank a cup of shark liver oil each day from the big drum in the shack where many of the fishermen kept their gear.
Q. What was the idea of the old man about luck?
Ans. The old man always hopeful about luck. He would never get disappointed. His faith in the ability of man was unshakable. In his opinion, a man destroyed but not defeated. He believed more in man’s ability than that of luck. He says:
‘Who knows, maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.’
It shows that his belief in luck was not blind. He preferred to be more practical than merely being lucky. His belief in luck was not blind. He preferred to be more practical than merely being lucky.
Q. How did the old man use his fishing skill?
Ans. The old man used his fishing skill as a great expert. He rowed the boat gently to keep the lines straight up and down and at their proper depths. He looked down into the dark of the water. He kept them straighter than anyone did so that at each level in the darkness of steam there would be bait exactly where he wished it to be for any fish that swam there. He kept the lines with precision.
Q. What did the boy and the old man discuss about the lottery?
Ans. The boy and the old man had a great love for each other. They discussed ordinary matters quite friendly. They talked lucky 85 and 87 numbers on account of their previous fishing experience sand proposed to buy a lottery ticket with terminal number 85. They also discussed that they could manage to buy tickets by borrowing two and a half dollars but the old man rejected the proposal with the remarks:
‘But I try not to borrow. First, you borrow then you beg.’
Q. What is Religious Significance in the novel?
Answer: This novel has also a great religious significance and purpose. In the course of his adventure with the giant fish marlin and his fight with sharks, Santiago prays to God. He does not think himself to be a religious person, but he possesses all those virtues which religion enjoins upon man.
He promises to say ten ‘Our fathers’ and ten ‘Hail Marys’ if he succeeds in catching the huge fish marlin. In this, he also promises to make a pilgrimage to the Virgin de Cobre.
Santiago’s deep religious faith can be noticed as he analyses his own actions from moral and religious aspects. He feels troubled by thinking that he may have committed a sin by killing the marlin. At last, he comes to the conclusion that it was no sin because he loved the marlin when it was alive and he loved it afterwards. He gets over the feelings of his guilt by thinking that the marlin was born a fish and he was destined to become a fisherman. Then he said to himself:
‘Do not think about sin. It is much too late for that and there are people who are paid to do it. Let them think about it.’
There is also the crucifixion imagery which gives the novelist religious character and significance. Santiago’s sufferings are depicted in terms of the sufferings of the Holy Christ. For example, we read Santiago’s feelings as if nails have been driven through his hands into the wood beneath. Further, we read about carrying a mast on his back and struggling up the hill under the heavy burden. In the end, the author tells us that the old man has fallen asleep with his arms out straight and the palms of his hands up. Such allusions, to the old man’s sufferings, can certainly move a Christian and remind him of the entire story of Holy Christ’s martyrdom.
Q. What is the moral significance of the novel?
Answer: The moral aspect of the novel has been much emphasized in the novel. The author has laid great stress on human values. These values are of fundamental nature for civilized human life. The theme of the novel being the mind and spirit, which defines all difficulties and remains undaunted in the face of all calamities and disasters. The story of the novel is remarkable for it stresses on what man can do, and on the world as an arena where heroic deeds are performed.
His steadfast struggle for a big catch and waiting patiently for eighty-five days make him an unusual man from the very beginning.
He is sorry for the birds because they have a harder life than human beings. He also feels great love and sympathy for the giant fish marlin that he was hooked and is determined to kill. Santiago’s general conclusions about human behaviour are also significant. Challenging his adversary, he says:
1) I will tell him what a man can do and what a man can endure.
2) Man has not been made for defeat. Man can be destroyed but cannot be defeated.
Q. What is Social Significance of the Novel?
Ans. The social significance of the novel can be noted by the situation of the chief character Santiago. Santiago lives a lonely life but he greatly depends on the physical and spiritual support of the boy. The boy has not only been a fishing assistant to Santiago, but also a companion. The boy serves him with coffee and meal and takes care o his comfort in the hut. He also helps him to carry the fishing gear.
The image of the boy is always with the old man during the fishing adventure. He remembers him time and again and wishes he had the boy with him. Every new crisis reminds him the necessity of the boy. The boy could have rubbed the old man’s cramped hand. He could have wetted coils and could have relieved the old man for rest. A spiritual kinship exists between the old man and the boy.
The restaurant owner sends him food and drink. The wine shop owner supplies him old newspapers. The concept of social solidarity and our inter-dependence for a good civilized life is clear from the novel.
The deprivation of social life creates many problems for a man. The old man has begun to speak loudly since the boy left him. The old man says,
‘No man should be alone in old age.’
Hence the lonely deprived life of the old man stresses the importance of peaceful family life for the individual. The old man himself enjoyed a good family life when his wife was alive. In the sea when the old man is alone, he tries to create a social atmosphere by speaking to the fishes, birds and other surrounding objects. He calls them brothers and friends. If we notice the old man in isolation
Q. What is the symbolic significance of the following?
i) Baseball ii) De Maggio iii) Boy iv) Lions
v) Hand Wresting Completion
Ans. 1) Baseball: We notice that the old man and the boy are equally interested in baseball. They have enough knowledge about its teams, its champions, and the results of the matches. It is their hobby, but it also shows that how enthusiastic and full of life they are.
During the course of his fishing adventure, Santiago wonders what the result of the league matches has been. Then he tells himself:
‘Now it is no time to think of baseball. Now is the time to think of only one thing. That which I was born for’
The baseball has a symbolical significance because the games teach a man to live and fight in the world. They are a symbol of discipline in our life.
2) De Maggio: De Maggio, the baseball champion has also significance in the story. The baseball reminds him of the great players. De Maggio is worshipped by the old man like a hero. He is the symbol of endurance, because he could play despite pain and suffering. The old man says:
‘De Maggio does all things perfectly even with the pain of the bone spur in the heel.’
The old man himself wants to be perfect and exact. He hangs the lines at different depths of fathoms. Thus, De Maggio also becomes a source of strength, courage and endurance.
3) The Boy: Santiago misses the boy time and again during the adventure. He badly needs his company. The boy has the greatest significance for the old man. The old man has transmitted his ideas, his characteristics, his values and above all the art and tricks of fishing to the boy. In fact, he wants to transform his physical and spiritual personality in the boy upon whom he bestows his fatherly affections. The boy is not only his apprentice but a son and companion as well. Since the boy’s absence in the fishing adventures, he has begun to talk loudly to avoid the pressure of loneliness.
4) Lions: The thought of lions is also a source of inspiration for the old man. Lions remind him of his childhood when he was free and full of energy and when he enjoyed looking at the lions running and playing in the jungle at the sea coast. The lions symbolize the old man’s youth and his youthful strength. They provide him and additional stimulus. All such thoughts serve him as psychological props to boost his morale.
5) Hand-Wrestling: The thought of hand-wrestling completion with the Negro also serves him as a source of inspiration. He has defeated the Negro who was regarded as the strongest man on the docks. The match had continued for more than twenty-four hours. Santiago had won the victory and was given the title of champion. This was the biggest achievement of his youth. During the adventure, the fight was revived in his mind to inspire him.
Q. Does the incident of the land bird, a Warbler (which comes to rest on Santiago’s skiff far out at sea) reveal his sense of brotherhood with creatures of the water and the air? Explain.
Ans. When the old man is busy in his struggle with the giant fish, Marlin, there comes a small bird suddenly. It comes towards his skiff from the Northside. It is flying very low over the surface of the water. The old man thinks that the bird is extremely tired:
Later on, the small bird, Warbler, flies to the backside of the skiff and sits there for taking rest. After some moments, it flies and sits on the line of the fishing rod where he seems to be feeling more comfortable. It is here that Santiago asks this small bird:
‘How old are you? Is this your first trip?’
The bird looks at Santiago when he speaks to it. He again speaks to the bird as:
‘It’s steady’, the old man told him. It’s too steady. You shouldn’t be that tired after a windless night. What are birds coming too?’
Santiago affectionately advises this small bird to take some rest on the fishing line. He treats the small bird in such a manner as if it were his friend and companion, on the sea.
It is just to say that Santiago’s affectionate attitude the small bird, Warbler, on the sea, reveals his sense of brotherhood with the creatures of the water and air.
Q. Discuss and explain Hemingway’s novel as a symbolic one. OR ‘Man can be destroyed but not defeated.’ Discuss and explain.
‘The Old Man and the Sea’
Question: “Nothing is easy” the old man in the novel ‘The old man and the sea’. This is what Hemingway wants to convey to us that everyone has his challenges in life to meet. Discuss.
Discuss and explain Hemingway’s novel as a symbolic one.
‘Man can be destroyed but not defeated.’ Discuss and explain.
‘It is silly not to hope ———- Besides, I believe it is a sin ———— I’ll fight them (Sharks) until I die.’ Discuss and explain this statement.
Ans. The novel is highly a symbolic composition. The old fisherman believes in hard work. He does what he is born for. He shows heroism in his every day’s work. He ventures all alone. He fights with the big fish, Marlin. He uses his full strength, will power and determination. He wishes to prove his worth against a worthy adversary, the marlin. He says:
‘I will show him (Marlin) what a man can do and what a man endures.’ Santiago addresses the big fish Marlin as:
‘You are killing me, fish. But you have a right to —- come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who.
Eventually, he succeeds in harpooning the Marlin. The killing of Marlin has a symbolic meaning. Although the old man is physically weak, yet he is not ready to surrender. In fact, life is a constant struggle. The sharks do represent evil faces. It is the theme of the novel, “Man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
Q. Would you call the novel a tragedy, if so, does it carry a sense of moral order. Discuss.
Ans. According to Aristotle, a tragic hero is one who has the following qualities:
1) He is better than ordinary human beings.
2) He suffers because of his mistaken act or his error of judgment.
3) He exhibits great endurance in the face of sufferings. He may die or fail miserably at the end.
4) There is an inner conflict, which keeps the hero in confusion.
5) His suffering may arise pity and terror.
In light of the above points, we see that the old man is a perfect tragic hero.
Q. Justify the ending of the novel, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.
Ans. Some critics are of the view that the ending of the novel is not justified but most of the critics are of the view that the author is fully justified.
The old fisherman goes far out on the sea. He hopes to catch a big fish. After a constant struggle of forty-eight days, he succeeds in hunting a big fish, Marlin. He lashes it with the skiff.
The sharks come out to attach the big fish, Marlin. The old fisherman fights like a hero but all his efforts end in smoke. At last, the sharks snatch away the whole flesh of the big fish, Marlin. The old man is left with nothing except the skeleton of the fish. He returns to the seashore. It is a heroic fight. It is the struggle. But he fails to protect the big fish, Marlin. The novel is a story of ‘gain and loss’. It provides the readers with satisfaction.
The author wants to justify that human life does not depend on success or failure. Its greatness lies in constant struggle and invincible will power. The old man loses the battle but does not lose his heart. The ending of the novel is natural and realistic.
Q. Once the old man said, “His hope and his confidence have never gone. But they were freshening as when the breeze arises.” Explain.
Ans. Santiago believes in hope. To him, it is sin not to hope. For eighty-four days he fails to catch in any fish. But even then, he does not fall prey to sadness. He has firm faith and self-confidence. He goes away to far on the sea. He is all alone. On eighty-fifth day, he succeeds in the catch in a big fish. It is all the result of his firm faith in hope.
All the same time, the old man is a believer in realism. He is not superstitious. He does not believe in luck. He depends on his technique of fishing. He succeeds in hunting the big fish. According to him, hope and confidence are two important pillars of success. In this regard, he is a spokesman of the novelist, Hemingway.
Question: Is to retain a thing more difficult in the American Society than to obtain the same? Explain.
Ans. The novel ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ highlights Santiago’s quest for a big fish. He wins the battle against the giant fish, Marlin. He is gifted with courage and strong will power. He addresses the big fish, Marlin as:
‘You are killing me fish. But you have a right too. Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or nobler thing than you, brother. Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who.’
It is now evident that it has become difficult for the old man to prolong and retain his big fish with him. The sharks prove to be more terrible enemies for him than the marlin. In his struggle with the marlin, the old man comes out victorious. But in the fight with the sharks to save the Marlin from them Santiago suffers a defeat. The sharks attach the Marlin time and again.
Ultimately, they snatch away from the poor old man all the flesh of the Marlin.
As Santiago is a member of the American Society, he fails completely to retain the Marlin. No doubt the Marlin was obtained after a prolonged and painful struggle. The author is fully justified in concluding that it is more difficult to retain a thing than to obtain it