Thursday, 24 April 2014

Animal Farm: Study Materials


General Information

Animal Farm: Chapter I
Animal Farm: Chapter II
Animal Farm: Chapter III
Animal Farm: Chapter IV
Animal Farm: Chapter V
Animal Farm: Chapter VI
Animal Farm: Chapter VII
Animal Farm: Chapter VIII
Animal Farm: Chapter IX
Animal Farm: Chapter X

The Old Man and The Sea: Study Materials

The Old Man and The Sea: Themes, Motifs & Symbols

Themes

(Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work).

The Honor in Struggle, Defeat & Death


From the very first paragraph, Santiago is characterized as someone struggling against defeat. He has gone eighty-four days without catching a fish—he will soon pass his own record of eighty-seven days. Almost as a reminder of Santiago’s struggle, the sail of his skiff resembles “the flag of permanent defeat.” But the old man refuses defeat at every turn: he resolves to sail out beyond the other fishermen to where the biggest fish promise to be. He lands the marlin, tying his record of eighty-seven days after a brutal three-day fight, and he continues to ward off sharks from stealing his prey, even though he knows the battle is useless.

Because Santiago is pitted against the creatures of the sea, some readers choose to view the tale as a chronicle of man’s battle against the natural world, but the novella is, more accurately, the story of man’s place withinnature. Both Santiago and the marlin display qualities of pride, honor, and bravery, and both are subject to the same eternal law: they must kill or be killed. As Santiago reflects when he watches the weary warbler fly toward shore, where it will inevitably meet the hawk, the world is filled with predators, and no living thing can escape the inevitable struggle that will lead to its death. Santiago lives according to his own observation: “man is not made for defeat . . . [a] man can be destroyed but not defeated.” In Hemingway’s portrait of the world, death is inevitable, but the best men (and animals) will nonetheless refuse to give in to its power. Accordingly, man and fish will struggle to the death, just as hungry sharks will lay waste to an old man’s trophy catch.

The novel suggests that it is possible to transcend this natural law. In fact, the very inevitability of destruction creates the terms that allow a worthy man or beast to transcend it. It is precisely through the effort to battle the inevitable that a man can prove himself. Indeed, a man can prove this determination over and over through the worthiness of the opponents he chooses to face. Santiago finds the marlin worthy of a fight, just as he once found “the great negro of Cienfuegos” worthy. His admiration for these opponents brings love and respect into an equation with death, as their destruction becomes a point of honor and bravery that confirms Santiago’s heroic qualities. One might characterize the equation as the working out of the statement “Because I love you, I have to kill you.” Alternately, one might draw a parallel to the poet John Keats and his insistence that beauty can only be comprehended in the moment before death, as beauty bows to destruction. Santiago, though destroyed at the end of the novella, is never defeated. Instead, he emerges as a hero. Santiago’s struggle does not enable him to change man’s place in the world. Rather, it enables him to meet his most dignified destiny.

Pride as the Source of Greatness & Determination

Many parallels exist between Santiago and the classic heroes of the ancient world. In addition to exhibiting terrific strength, bravery, and moral certainty, those heroes usually possess a tragic flaw—a quality that, though admirable, leads to their eventual downfall. If pride is Santiago’s fatal flaw, he is keenly aware of it. After sharks have destroyed the marlin, the old man apologizes again and again to his worthy opponent. He has ruined them both, he concedes, by sailing beyond the usual boundaries of fishermen. Indeed, his last word on the subject comes when he asks himself the reason for his undoing and decides, “Nothing . . . I went out too far.”

While it is certainly true that Santiago’s eighty-four-day run of bad luck is an affront to his pride as a masterful fisherman, and that his attempt to bear out his skills by sailing far into the gulf waters leads to disaster, Hemingway does not condemn his protagonist for being full of pride. On the contrary, Santiago stands as proof that pride motivates men to greatness. Because the old man acknowledges that he killed the mighty marlin largely out of pride, and because his capture of the marlin leads in turn to his heroic transcendence of defeat, pride becomes the source of Santiago’s greatest strength. Without a ferocious sense of pride, that battle would never have been fought, or more likely, it would have been abandoned before the end.

Santiago’s pride also motivates his desire to transcend the destructive forces of nature. Throughout the novel, no matter how baleful his circumstances become, the old man exhibits an unflagging determination to catch the marlin and bring it to shore. When the first shark arrives, Santiago’s resolve is mentioned twice in the space of just a few paragraphs. First we are told that the old man “was full of resolution but he had little hope.” Then, sentences later, the narrator says, “He hit [the shark] without hope but with resolution.” The old man meets every challenge with the same unwavering determination: he is willing to die in order to bring in the marlin, and he is willing to die in order to battle the feeding sharks. It is this conscious decision to act, to fight, to never give up that enables Santiago to avoid defeat. Although he returns to Havana without the trophy of his long battle, he returns with the knowledge that he has acquitted himself proudly and manfully. Hemingway seems to suggest that victory is not a prerequisite for honor. Instead, glory depends upon one having the pride to see a struggle through to its end, regardless of the outcome. Even if the old man had returned with the marlin intact, his moment of glory, like the marlin’s meat, would have been short-lived. The glory and honor Santiago accrues comes not from his battle itself but from his pride and determination to fight.

Motifs

(Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes).

Crucifixion Imagery

In order to suggest the profundity of the old man’s sacrifice and the glory that derives from it, Hemingway purposefully likens Santiago to Christ, who, according to Christian theology, gave his life for the greater glory of humankind. Crucifixion imagery is the most noticeable way in which Hemingway creates the symbolic parallel between Santiago and Christ. When Santiago’s palms are first cut by his fishing line, the reader cannot help but think of Christ suffering his stigmata. Later, when the sharks arrive, Hemingway portrays the old man as a crucified martyr, saying that he makes a noise similar to that of a man having nails driven through his hands. Furthermore, the image of the old man struggling up the hill with his mast across his shoulders recalls Christ’s march toward Calvary. Even the position in which Santiago collapses on his bed—face down with his arms out straight and the palms of his hands up—brings to mind the image of Christ suffering on the cross. Hemingway employs these images in the final pages of the novella in order to link Santiago to Christ, who exemplified transcendence by turning loss into gain, defeat into triumph, and even death into renewed life.

Life from Death

Death is the unavoidable force in the novella, the one fact that no living creature can escape. But death, Hemingway suggests, is never an end in itself: in death there is always the possibility of the most vigorous life. The reader notes that as Santiago slays the marlin, not only is the old man reinvigorated by the battle, but the fish also comes alive “with his death in him.” Life, the possibility of renewal, necessarily follows on the heels of death.

Whereas the marlin’s death hints at a type of physical reanimation, death leads to life in less literal ways at other points in the novella. The book’s crucifixion imagery emphasizes the cyclical connection between life and death, as does Santiago’s battle with the marlin. His success at bringing the marlin in earns him the awed respect of the fishermen who once mocked him, and secures him the companionship of Manolin, the apprentice who will carry on Santiago’s teachings long after the old man has died.

The Lions on the Beach

Santiago dreams his pleasant dream of the lions at play on the beaches of Africa three times. The first time is the night before he departs on his three-day fishing expedition, the second occurs when he sleeps on the boat for a few hours in the middle of his struggle with the marlin, and the third takes place at the very end of the book. In fact, the sober promise of the triumph and regeneration with which the novella closes is supported by the final image of the lions. Because Santiago associates the lions with his youth, the dream suggests the circular nature of life. Additionally, because Santiago imagines the lions, fierce predators, playing, his dream suggests a harmony between the opposing forces—life and death, love and hate, destruction and regeneration of nature.

Symbols

(Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts).

The Marlin

Magnificent and glorious, the marlin symbolizes the ideal opponent. In a world in which “everything kills everything else in some way,” Santiago feels genuinely lucky to find himself matched against a creature that brings out the best in him: his strength, courage, love, and respect.

The Shovel-Nosed Sharks

The shovel-nosed sharks are little more than moving appetites that thoughtlessly and gracelessly attack the marlin. As opponents of the old man, they stand in bold contrast to the marlin, which is worthy of Santiago’s effort and strength. They symbolize and embody the destructive laws of the universe and attest to the fact that those laws can be transcended only when equals fight to the death. Because they are base predators, Santiago wins no glory from battling them.

The Old Man and The Sea: DAY 05

Summary

Early the next morning, Manolin comes to the old man’s shack, and the sight of his friend’s ravaged hands brings him to tears. He goes to fetch coffee. Fishermen have gathered around Santiago’s boat and measured the carcass at eighteen feet. Manolin waits for the old man to wake up, keeping his coffee warm for him so it is ready right away. When the old man wakes, he and Manolin talk warmly. Santiago says that the sharks beat him, and Manolin insists that he will work with the old man again, regardless of what his parents say. He reveals that there had been a search for Santiago involving the coast guard and planes. Santiago is happy to have someone to talk to, and after he and Manolin make plans, the old man sleeps again. Manolin leaves to find food and the newspapers for the old man, and to tell Pedrico that the marlin’s head is his. That afternoon two tourists at the terrace café mistake the great skeleton for that of a shark. Manolin continues to watch over the old man as he sleeps and dreams of the lions.

Analysis

Given the depth of Santiago’s tragedy most likely Santiago will never have the opportunity to catch another such fish in his lifetime.The Old Man and the Sea ends on a rather optimistic note. Santiago is reunited with Manolin, who desperately wants to complete his training. All of the old man’s noble qualities and, more important, the lessons he draws from his experience, will be passed on to the boy, which means that the fisherman’s life will continue on, in some form, even after his death. The promise of triumph and regeneration is supported by the closing image of the book. For the third time, Santiago returns to his dream of the lions at play on the African beaches. As an image that recalls the old man’s youth, the lions suggest the circularity of life. They also suggest the harmony the lions are, after all, playing that exists between the opposing forces of nature.

The hope that Santiago clings to at the novella’s close is not the hope that comes from naïveté. It is, rather, a hope that comes from experience, of something new emerging from something old, as a phoenix rises out of the ashes. The novella states as much when Santiago reflects that “a man can be destroyed but not defeated.” The destruction of the marlin is not a defeat for Santiago; rather, it leads to his redemption. Indeed, the fishermen who once mocked him now stand in awe of him. The decimation of the marlin, of course, is a significant loss. The sharks strip Santiago of his greater glory as surely as they strip the great fish of its flesh. But to view the shark attack as precipitating only loss is to see but half the picture. When Santiago says, “Fishing kills me exactly as it keeps me alive,” he is pointing, once again, to the vast, necessary, and ever-shifting tension that exists between loss and gain, triumph and defeat, life and death.

In the final pages of the novella, Hemingway employs a number of images that link Santiago to Christ, the model of transcendence, who turned loss into gain, defeat into triumph, and even death into new life. Hemingway unabashedly paints the old man as a crucified martyr: as soon as the sharks arrive, the narrator comments that the noise Santiago made resembled the noise one would make “feeling the nail go through his hands and into the wood.” The narrator’s description of Santiago’s return to town also recalls the crucifixion. As the old man struggles up the hill with his mast across his shoulders, the reader cannot help but recall Christ’s march toward Calvary. Even the position in which he collapses on his bed—he sleeps facedown on the newspapers with his arms out straight and the palms of his hands up—brings to mind the image of Christ suffering on the cross.

The Old Man and The Sea: DAY 04

Summary

The marlin wakes Santiago by jerking the line. The fish jumps out of the water again and again, and Santiago is thrown into the bow of the skiff, facedown in his dolphin meat. The line feeds out fast, and the old man brakes against it with his back and hands. His left hand, especially, is badly cut. Santiago wishes that the boy were with him to wet the coils of the line, which would lessen the friction.

The old man wipes the crushed dolphin meat off his face, fearing that it will make him nauseated and he will lose his strength. Looking at his damaged hand, he reflects that “pain does not matter to a man.” He eats the second flying fish in hopes of building up his strength. As the sun rises, the marlin begins to circle. For hours the old man fights the circling fish for every inch of line, slowly pulling it in. He feels faint and dizzy and sees black spots before his eyes. The fish riots against the line, battering the boat with its spear. When it passes under the boat, Santiago cannot believe its size. As the marlin continues to circle, Santiago adds enough pressure to the line to bring the fish closer and closer to the skiff. The old man thinks that the fish is killing him, and admires him for it, saying, “I do not care who kills who.” Eventually, he pulls the fish onto its side by the boat and plunges his harpoon into it. The fish lurches out of the water, brilliantly and beautifully alive as it dies. When it falls back into the water, its blood stains the waves.

The old man pulls the skiff up alongside the fish and fastens the fish to the side of the boat. He thinks about how much money he will be able to make from such a big fish, and he imagines that DiMaggio would be proud of him. Santiago’s hands are so cut up that they resemble raw meat. With the mast up and the sail drawn, man, fish, and boat head for land. In his light-headed state, the old man finds himself wondering for a moment if he is bringing the fish in or vice versa. He shakes some shrimp from a patch of gulf weed and eats them raw. He watches the marlin carefully as the ship sails on. The old man’s wounds remind him that his battle with the marlin was real and not a dream.

An hour later, a mako shark arrives, having smelled the marlin’s blood. Except for its jaws full of talonlike teeth, the shark is a beautiful fish. When the shark hits the marlin, the old man sinks his harpoon into the shark’s head. The shark lashes on the water and, eventually, sinks, taking the harpoon and the old man’s rope with it. The mako has taken nearly forty pounds of meat, so fresh blood from the marlin spills into the water, inevitably drawing more sharks to attack. Santiago realizes that his struggle with the marlin was for nothing; all will soon be lost. But, he muses, “a man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

Santiago tries to cheer himself by thinking that DiMaggio would be pleased by his performance, and he wonders again if his hands equal DiMaggio’s bone spurs as a handicap. He tries to be hopeful, thinking that it is silly, if not sinful, to stop hoping. He reminds himself that he didn’t kill the marlin simply for food, that he killed it out of pride and love. He wonders if it is a sin to kill something you love. The shark, on the other hand, he does not feel guilty about killing, because he did it in self-defense. He decides that “everything kills everything else in some way.”

Two hours later, a pair of shovel-nosed sharks arrives, and Santiago makes a noise likened to the sound a man might make as nails are driven through his hands. The sharks attack, and Santiago fights them with a knife that he had lashed to an oar as a makeshift weapon. He enjoyed killing the mako because it was a worthy opponent, a mighty and fearless predator, but he has nothing but disdain for the scavenging shovel-nosed sharks. The old man kills them both, but not before they take a good quarter of the marlin, including the best meat. Again, Santiago wishes that he hadn’t killed the marlin. He apologizes to the dead marlin for having gone out so far, saying it did neither of them any good.

Still hopeful that the whole ordeal had been a dream, Santiago cannot bear to look at the mutilated marlin. Another shovel-nosed shark arrives. The old man kills it, but he loses his knife in the process. Just before nightfall, two more sharks approach. The old man’s arsenal has been reduced to the club he uses to kill bait fish. He manages to club the sharks into retreat, but not before they repeatedly maul the marlin. Stiff, sore, and weary, he hopes he does not have to fight anymore. He even dares to imagine making it home with the half-fish that remains. Again, he apologizes to the marlin carcass and attempts to console it by reminding the fish how many sharks he has killed. He wonders how many sharks the marlin killed when it was alive, and he pledges to fight the sharks until he dies. Although he hopes to be lucky, Santiago believes that he “violated [his] luck” when he sailed too far out.

Around midnight, a pack of sharks arrives. Near-blind in the darkness, Santiago strikes out at the sounds of jaws and fins. Something snatches his club. He breaks off the boat’s tiller and makes a futile attempt to use it as a weapon. When the last shark tries to tear at the tough head of the marlin, the old man clubs the shark until the tiller splinters. He plunges the sharp edge into the shark’s flesh and the beast lets go. No meat is left on the marlin.

The old man spits blood into the water, which frightens him for a moment. He settles in to steer the boat, numb and past all feeling. He asks himself what it was that defeated him and concludes, “Nothing . . . I went out too far.” When he reaches the harbor, all lights are out and no one is near. He notices the skeleton of the fish still tied to the skiff. He takes down the mast and begins to shoulder it up the hill to his shack. It is terrifically heavy, and he is forced to sit down five times before he reaches his home. Once there, the old man sleeps.

Analysis

The fantastical final stage of the old man’s fight with the fish brings two thematic issues to the forefront. The first concerns man’s place in nature, the second concerns nature itself. It is possible to interpret Santiago’s journey as a cautionary tale of sorts, a tragic lesson about what happens when man’s pride forces him beyond the boundaries of his rightful, human place in the world. This interpretation is undermined, however, by the fact that Santiago finds the place where he is most completely, honestly, and fully himself only by sailing out farther than he ever has before. Indeed, Santiago has not left his true place; he has found it, which suggests that man’s greatest potential can be found in his return to the natural world from which modern advancements have driven him.

At one point, Santiago embraces his unity with the marlin, thinking, “You are killing me, fish . . . But you have a right to . . . brother. Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who.” This realization speaks to the novella’s theory of the natural world. As Santiago’s exhausting and near-endless battle with the marlin shows, his is a world in which life and death go hand in loving hand. Everything in the world must die, and according to Santiago, only a brotherhood between men or creatures can alleviate the grimness of that fact. The death of the marlin serves as a beautiful case in point, for as the fish dies it is not only transformed into something larger than itself, it is also charged with life: “Then the fish came alive, with his death in him.” In Hemingway’s conception of the natural world, beauty is deadly, age is strength, and death is the greatest instance of vitality.

The transformation that the fish undergoes upon its death anticipates the transformation that awaits Santiago in the novella’s final pages. The old man’s battle with the fish is marked by supreme pain and suffering, but he lives in a world in which extreme pain can be a source of triumph rather than defeat. The key to Santiago’s triumph, as the end of the novel makes clear, is an almost martyrlike endurance, a quality that the old man knows and values. Santiago repeatedly reminds himself that physical pain does not matter to a man, and he urges himself to keep his head clear and to know how to suffer like a man.

After the arrival of the mako shark, Santiago seems preoccupied with the notion of hope. Hope is shown to be a necessary component of endurance, so much so that the novella seems to suggest that endurance can be found wherever pain and hope meet. As Santiago sails on while the sharks continue to attack his catch, the narrator says that Santiago “was full of resolution but he had little hope”; later, the narrator comments, “He hit [the shark] without hope but with resolution.” But without hope Santiago has reason neither to fight the sharks nor to return home. He soon realizes that it is silly not to hope, and he even goes so far as to consider it a sin. Ultimately, he overcomes the shark attack by bearing it. The poet and critic Delmore Schwartz regards The Old Man and the Sea as a dramatic development in Hemingway’s career because Santiago’s “sober hope” strikes a sort of compromise between youthful naïveté and the jadedness of age. Before the novella, Hemingway had given the world heroes who lived either shrouded by illusions, such as Nick Adams in “Indian Camp,” or crushed by disillusionment, such as Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms.

The Old Man and The Sea: DAY 03

Summary

A small, tired warbler (a type of bird) lands on the stern of the skiff, flutters around Santiago’s head, then perches on the taut fishing line that links the old man to the big fish. The old man suspects that it is the warbler’s first trip, and that it knows nothing of the hawks that will meet the warbler as it nears land. Knowing that the warbler cannot understand him, the old man tells the bird to stay and rest up before heading toward shore. Just then the marlin surges, nearly pulling Santiago overboard, and the bird departs. Santiago notices that his hand is bleeding from where the line has cut it.

Aware that he will need to keep his strength, the old man makes himself eat the tuna he caught the day before, which he had expected to use as bait. While he cuts and eats the fish with his right hand, his already cut left hand cramps and tightens into a claw under the strain of taking all the fish’s resistance. Santiago is angered and frustrated by the weakness of his own body, but the tuna, he hopes, will reinvigorate the hand. As he eats, he feels a brotherly desire to feed the marlin too.

While waiting for the cramp in his hand to ease, Santiago looks across the vast waters and thinks himself to be completely alone. A flight of ducks passes overhead, and he realizes that it is impossible for a man to be alone on the sea. The slant of the fishing line changes, indicating to the old fisherman that the fish is approaching the surface. Suddenly, the fish leaps magnificently into the air, and Santiago sees that it is bigger than any he has ever witnessed; it is two feet longer than the skiff itself. Santiago declares it “great” and promises never to let the fish learn its own strength. The line races out until the fish slows to its earlier pace. By noon, the old man’s hand is uncramped, and though he claims he is not religious, he says ten Hail Marys and ten Our Fathers and promises that, if he catches the fish, he will make a pilgrimage to the Virgin of Cobre. In case his struggle with the marlin should continue for another night, Santiago baits another line in hopes of catching another meal.

The second day of Santiago’s struggle with the marlin wears on. The old man alternately questions and justifies seeking the death of such a noble opponent. As dusk approaches, Santiago’s thoughts turn to baseball. The great DiMaggio, thinks the old man, plays brilliantly despite the pain of a bone spur in his heel. Santiago is not actually sure what a bone spur is, but he is sure he would not be able to bear the pain of one himself. (A bone spur is an outgrowth that projects from the bone.) He wonders if DiMaggio would stay with the marlin. To boost his confidence, the old man recalls the great all-night arm-wrestling match he won as a young man. Having beaten “the great negro from Cienfuegos [a town in Cuba],” Santiago earned the title El Campeón, or “The Champion.”

Just before nightfall, a dolphin takes the second bait Santiago had dropped. The old man hauls it in with one hand and clubs it dead. He saves the meat for the following day. Although Santiago boasts to the marlin that he feels prepared for their impending fight, he is really numb with pain. The stars come out. Santiago considers the stars his friends, as he does the great marlin. He considers himself lucky that his lot in life does not involve hunting anything so great as the stars or the moon. Again, he feels sorry for the marlin, though he is as determined as ever to kill it. The fish will feed many people, Santiago decides, though they are not worthy of the creature’s great dignity. By starlight, still bracing and handling the line, Santiago considers rigging the oars so that the fish will have to pull harder and eventually tire itself out. He fears this strategy would ultimately result in the loss of the fish. He decides to “rest,” which really just means putting down his hands and letting the line go across his back, instead of using his own strength to resist his opponent.

After “resting” for two hours, Santiago chastises himself for not sleeping, and he fears what could happen should his mind become “unclear.” He butchers the dolphin he caught earlier and finds two flying fish in its belly. In the chilling night, he eats half of a fillet of dolphin meat and one of the flying fish. While the marlin is quiet, the old man decides to sleep. He has several dreams: a school of porpoises leaps from and returns to the ocean; he is back in his hut during a storm; and he again dreams of the lions on the beach in Africa.

Analysis

The narrator tells us that Santiago does not mention the hawks that await the little warbler because he thinks the bird will learn about them “soon enough.” Hemingway tempers the grimness of Santiago’s observation with Santiago’s feeling of deep connection with the warbler. He suggests that the world, though designed to bring about death, is a vast, interconnected network of life. Additionally, the warbler’s feeling of exhaustion and its ultimate fate destruction by predators mirror Santiago’s own eventual exhaustion and the marlin’s ravishment by sharks.

The brotherhood between Santiago and the surrounding world extends beyond the warbler. The old man feels an intimate connection to the great fish, as well as to the sea and stars. Santiago constantly pledges his love, respect, and sentiment of brotherhood to the marlin. For this reason, the fish’s death is not portrayed as senselessly tragic. Santiago, and seemingly Hemingway, feel that since death must come in the world, it is preferable that it come at the hands of a worthy opponent. The old man’s magnificence the honor and humility with which he executes his task elevates his struggle to a rarified, even transcendent level.

Skills that involved great displays of strength captured Hemingway’s imagination, and his fiction is filled with fishermen, big-game hunters, bullfighters, prizefighters, and soldiers. Hemingway’s fiction presents a world peopled almost exclusively by men—men who live most successfully in the world through displays of skill. In Hemingway’s world, mere survival is not enough. To elevate oneself above the masses, one must master the rules and rituals by which men are judged. Time and again, we see Santiago displaying the art and the rituals that make him a master of his trade. Only his lines do not drift carelessly in the current; only he braves waters so far from shore.

Rules and rituals dominate the rest of the old man’s life as well. When he is not thinking about fishing, his mind turns to religion or baseball. Because Santiago declares that he is not a religious man, his prayers to the Virgin of Cobre seem less an appeal to a supernatural divinity and more a habit that orders and provides a context for his daily experience. Similarly, Santiago’s worship of Joe DiMaggio, and his constant comparisons between the baseball great and himself, suggest his preference for worlds in which men are measured by a clear set of standards. The great DiMaggio’s reputation is secured by his superlative batting average as surely as Santiago’s will be by an eighteen-foot marlin.

Even though Santiago doesn’t consider himself a religious man, it is during his struggle with the marlin that the book becomes strongly suggestive of a Christian parable. As his struggle intensifies, Santiago begins to seem more and more Christ-like: through his pain, suffering, and eventual defeat, he will transcend his previous incarnation as a failed fisherman. Hemingway achieves this effect by relying on the potent and, to many readers, familiar symbolism identified with Jesus Christ’s life and death. The cuts on the old man’s hands from the fishing line recall the stigmata—the crucifixion wounds of Jesus. Santiago’s isolation, too, evokes that of Christ, who spent forty days alone in the wilderness. Having taken his boat out on the ocean farther than any other fisherman has ever gone, Santiago is beyond even the fringes of society.

Hemingway also unites the old man with marlin through Santiago’s frequent expressions of his feeling of kinship. He thus suggests that the fate of one is the fate of the other. Although they are opponents, Santiago and the marlin are also partners, allies, and, in a sense, doubles. Thus, the following passage, which links the marlin to Christ, implicitly links Santiago to Christ as well:

“Christ, I did not know he was so big.”
“I’ll kill him though,” [Santiago] said. “In all his greatness and his glory.”

Santiago’s expletive (“Christ”) and the laudatory phrase “his greatness and his glory” link the fish’s fate to Christ’s. Because Santiago declares the marlin his “true brother,” he implies that they share a common fate. When, later in the book, sharks attack the marlin’s carcass, thereby attacking Santiago as well, the sense of alliance between the old man and the fish becomes even more explicit.

The Old Man and the Sea: DAY 02

Summary

The next morning, before sunrise, the old man goes to Manolin’s house to wake the boy. The two head back to Santiago’s shack, carry the old man’s gear to his boat, and drink coffee from condensed milk cans. Santiago has slept well and is confident about the day’s prospects. He and Manolin part on the beach, wishing each other good luck.

The old man rows steadily away from shore, toward the deep waters of the Gulf Stream. He hears the leaps and whirs of the flying fish, which he considers to be his friends, and thinks with sympathy of the small, frail birds that try to catch them. He loves the sea, though at times it can be cruel. He thinks of the sea as a woman whose wild behavior is beyond her control. The old man drops his baited fishing lines to various measured depths and rows expertly to keep them from drifting with the current. Above all else, he is precise.

The sun comes up. Santiago continues to move away from shore, observing his world as he drifts along. He sees flying fish pursued by dolphins; a diving, circling seabird; Sargasso weed, a type of seaweed found in the Gulf Stream; the distasteful purple Portuguese man-of-war; and the small fish that swim among the jellyfish-like creatures’ filaments. Rowing farther and farther out, Santiago follows the seabird that is hunting for fish, using it as a guide. Soon, one of the old man’s lines goes taut. He pulls up a ten-pound tuna, which, he says out loud, will make a lovely piece of bait. He wonders when he developed the habit of talking to himself but does not remember. He thinks that if the other fishermen heard him talking, they would think him crazy, although he knows he isn’t. Eventually, the old man realizes that he has sailed so far out that he can no longer see the green of the shore.

When the projecting stick that marks the top of the hundred-fathom line dips sharply, Santiago is sure that the fish tugging on the line is of a considerable size, and he prays that it will take the bait. The marlin plays with the bait for a while, and when it does finally take the bait, it starts to move with it, pulling the boat. The old man gives a mighty pull, then another, but he gains nothing. The fish drags the skiff farther into the sea. No land at all is visible to Santiago now.

All day the fish pulls the boat as the old man braces the line with his back and holds it taut in his hands, ready to give more line if necessary. The struggle goes on all night, as the fish continues to pull the boat. The glow given off by the lights of Havana gradually fades, signifying that the boat is the farthest from shore it has been so far. Over and over, the old man wishes he had the boy with him. When he sees two porpoises playing in the water, Santiago begins to pity his quarry and consider it a brother. He thinks back to the time that he caught one of a pair of marlin: the male fish let the female take the bait, then he stayed by the boat, as though in mourning. Although the memory makes him sad, Santiago’s determination is unchecked: as the marlin swims out, the old man goes “beyond all people in the world” to find him.

The sun rises and the fish has not tired, though it is now swimming in shallower waters. The old man cannot increase the tension on the line, because if it is too taut it will break and the fish will get away. Also, if the hook makes too big a cut in the fish, the fish may get away from it. Santiago hopes that the fish will jump, because its air sacs would fill and prevent the fish from going too deep into the water, which would make it easier to pull out. A yellow weed attaches to the line, helping to slow the fish. Santiago can do nothing but hold on. He pledges his love and respect to the fish, but he nevertheless promises that he will kill his opponent before the day ends.

Analysis

As Santiago sets out on the eighty-fifth day, the reader witnesses the qualities that earn him Manolin’s praise and dedication. The old man is an expert seaman, able to read the sea, sky, and their respective creatures like books that tell him what he needs to know. The flying fish, for instance, signal the arrival of dolphins, while, in Santiago’s experience, the magnificent tug on the line can mean only one thing: a marlin—a type of large game fish that weighs hundreds of pounds. Unlike the fishermen he passes on his way into the deep waters of the gulf, Santiago exercises an unparalleled precision when fishing. He keeps his lines perfectly straight instead of letting them drift as the other fishermen do, which means that he always knows exactly how deep they are. Santiago’s focus, his strength and resolve in the face of tremendous obstacles, as well as the sheer artistry with which he executes his tasks, mark him as a hero.

Santiago conforms to the model of the classical hero in two important respects. First, he displays a rare determination to understand the universe, as is evident when he meditates that the sea is beautiful and benevolent, but also so cruel that the birds who rely on the sea’s bounty are too delicate for it. Second, the old man possesses a tragic flaw that will lead to his downfall: pride. Santiago’s pride carries him far, not only metaphorically but literally—beyond his fellow fishermen into beautiful but, in the end, terribly cruel waters. As in classical epics, the most important struggle in Hemingway’s novella is a moral one. The fish itself is of secondary importance, for it is merely a trophy, a material prize.

Some critics have taken issue with Hemingway’s depiction of the old man because it betrays the very tenets of fiction that the author demanded (see “Hemingway’s Style”). Hemingway was, first and foremost, a proponent of realism. He wished to strip literature of its pretense and ornamentation, and he built a reputation as a journalistic writer who prized hard facts above all else. Metaphysical meditations and lofty philosophizing held little interest for Hemingway when compared to the details of daily life. As he states in A Farewell to Arms, “Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the number of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.” But several critics have charged Hemingway with a failure to render his old man or, for that matter, the sea realistically. Hemingway has forged particular details that simply are not true. For example, as critic Robert P. Weeks points out, the poisonous Portuguese man-of-war that follows Santiago’s boat would not appear in the waters off of Cuba for another six months. A more significant, less petty objection is the charge that Hemingway reduces Santiago to an unrealistic archetype of goodness and purity, while the surrounding world is marked by man’s romance and brotherhood with the sea and its many creatures.

Many critics believe that Hemingway was striking out into new literary territory with The Old Man and the Sea. America’s foremost proponent of realism seemed to be moving toward something as highly symbolic as parable. Hemingway, however, disagreed. The philosophy that governed his writing of the novella was the same one that shaped his earlier novels. In a 1958 interview with The Paris Review, Hemingway spoke about The Old Man and the Sea:

Anyway, to skip how [the writing] is done, I had unbelievable luck this time and could convey the [old man’s] experience completely and have it be one that no one had ever conveyed. The luck was that I had a good man and a good boy and lately writers have forgotten there are still such things.

To Hemingway, Santiago and Manolin were as true to the real world as protagonists like Frederic Henry of A Farewell to Armsor Jake Barnes of The Sun Also Rises.

The old man’s memory of hooking the female marlin of a male-female pair exemplifies Hemingway’s vision of a world in which women have no real place even the picture of Santiago’s wife no longer remains on his wall. Men are the central focus of most of Hemingway’s writing and certainly of The Old Man and the Sea. It is no coincidence that Santiago is convinced that his greatest adversary is, as he continually notes, a male, a fact that he could not possibly ascertain before even seeing the fish.

Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/oldman/section2.rhtml

The Old Man and The Sea: DAY 01

Summary

Santiago, an old fisherman, has gone eighty-four days without catching a fish. For the first forty days, a boy named Manolin had fished with him, but Manolin’s parents, who call Santiagosalao, or “the worst form of unlucky,” forced Manolin to leave him in order to work in a more prosperous boat. The old man is wrinkled, splotched, and scarred from handling heavy fish on cords, but his eyes, which are the color of the sea, remain “cheerful and undefeated.”

Having made some money with the successful fishermen, the boy offers to return to Santiago’s skiff, reminding him of their previous eighty-seven-day run of bad luck, which culminated in their catching big fish every day for three weeks. He talks with the old man as they haul in Santiago’s fishing gear and laments that he was forced to obey his father, who lacks faith and, as a result, made him switch boats. The pair stops for a beer at a terrace café, where fishermen make fun of Santiago. The old man does not mind. Santiago and Manolin reminisce about the many years the two of them fished together, and the boy begs the old man to let him provide fresh bait fish for him. The old man accepts the gift with humility. Santiago announces his plans to go “far out” in the sea the following day.

Manolin and Santiago haul the gear to the old man’s shack, which is furnished with nothing more than the barest necessities: a bed, a table and chair, and a place to cook. On the wall are two pictures: one of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and one of the Virgin of Cobre, the patroness of Cuba. The old man has taken down the photograph of his wife, which made him feel “too lonely.” The two go through their usual dinner ritual, in which the boy asks Santiago what he is going to eat, and the old man replies, “yellow rice with fish,” and then offers some to the boy. The boy declines, and his offer to start the old man’s fire is rejected. In reality, there is no food.

Excited to read the baseball scores, Santiago pulls out a newspaper, which he says was given to him by Perico at the bodega. Manolin goes to get the bait fish and returns with some dinner as well, a gift from Martin, the café owner. The old man is moved by Martin’s thoughtfulness and promises to repay the kindness. Manolin and Santiago discuss baseball. Santiago is a huge admirer of “the great DiMaggio,” whose father was a fisherman. After discussing with Santiago the greatest ballplayers and the greatest baseball managers, the boy declares that Santiago is the greatest fisherman: “There are many good fishermen and some great ones. But there is only you.” Finally, the boy leaves, and the old man goes to sleep. He dreams his sweet, recurring dream, of lions playing on the white beaches of Africa, a scene he saw from his ship when he was a very young man.

Analysis

The opening pages of the book establish Santiago’s character and set the scene for the action to follow. Even though he loves Manolin and is loved dearly by the boy, the old man lives as an outsider. The greeting he receives from the fishermen, most of whom mock him for his fruitless voyages to sea, shows Santiago to be an alienated, almost ostracized figure. Such an alienated position is characteristic of Hemingway’s heroes, whose greatest achievements depend, in large part, upon their isolation. In Hemingway’s works, it is only once a man is removed from the numbing and false confines of modern society that he can confront the larger, universal truths that govern him. In A Farewell to Arms, for instance, only after Frederic Henry abandons his post in the army and lives in seclusion is he able to learn the dismal lesson that death renders meaningless such notions as honor, glory, and love. Yet, although Hemingway’s message in The Old Man and the Sea is tragic in many respects, the story of Santiago and the destruction of his greatest catch is far from dismal. Unlike Frederic, Santiago is not defeated by his enlightenment. The narrator emphasizes Santiago’s perseverance in the opening pages, mentioning that the old man’s eyes are still “cheerful and undefeated” after suffering nearly three months without a single catch. And, although Santiago’s struggle will bring about defeat—the great marlin will be devoured by sharks—Santiago will emerge as a victor. As he tells the boy, in order for this to happen, he must venture far out, farther than the other fishermen are willing to go.

In Hemingway’s narrative, Santiago is elevated above the normal stature of a protagonist, assuming near-mythical proportions. He belongs to a tradition of literary heroes whose superior qualities necessitate their distance from ordinary humans and endeavors. Because Manolin constantly expresses his devotion to, reverence for, and trust of Santiago, he establishes his mentor as a figure of significant moral and professional stature, despite the difficulties of the past eighty-four days. While other young fishermen make fun of the old man, Manolin knows Santiago’s true worth and the extent of Santiago’s knowledge. In the old man, Hemingway provides the reader with a model of good, simple living: Santiago transcends the evils of the world—hunger, poverty, the contempt of his fellow men—by enduring them.

In these first few scenes, Hemingway introduces several issues and images that will recur throughout the book. The first is the question of Santiago’s endurance. The descriptions of his crude hut, almost nonexistent eating habits, and emaciated body force the reader to question the old man’s physical capacities. How could Santiago, who subsists on occasional handouts from kind café owners or, worse, imaginary meals, wage the terrific battle with the great marlin that the novel recounts? As the book progresses, we see that the question is irrelevant. Although Santiago’s battle is played out in physical terms, the stakes are decidedly spiritual.

This section also introduces two important symbols: the lions playing on the beaches of Africa and baseball’s immortal Joe DiMaggio. Throughout his trial at sea, Santiago’s thoughts will return to DiMaggio, for to him the baseball player represents a kind of triumphant survival. After suffering a bone spur in his heel, DiMaggio returned to baseball to become, in the eyes of many, the greatest player of all time. The lions are a more enigmatic symbol. The narrator says that they are Santiago’s only remaining dream. When he sleeps, he no longer envisions storms or women or fish, but only the “young cats in the dusk,” which “he love[s] . . . as he love[s] the boy.” Because the image of the lions has stayed with Santiago since his boyhood, the lions connect the end of the old man’s life with the beginning, giving his existence a kind of circularity. Like Santiago, the lions are hunters at the core of their being. The fact that Santiago dreams of the lions at play rather than on the hunt indicates that his dream is a break—albeit a temporary one—from the vicious order of the natural world.

The Old Man and the Sea: Major Characters

Santiago

Santiago suffers terribly throughout The Old Man and the Sea.In the opening pages of the book, he has gone eighty-four days without catching a fish and has become the laughingstock of his small village. He then endures a long and gruelling struggle with the marlin only to see his trophy catch destroyed by sharks. Yet, the destruction enables the old man to undergo a remarkable transformation, and he wrests triumph and renewed life from his seeming defeat. After all, Santiago is an old man whose physical existence is almost over, but the reader is assured that Santiago will persist through Manolin, who, like a disciple, awaits the old man’s teachings and will make use of those lessons long after his teacher has died. Thus, Santiago manages, perhaps, the most miraculous feat of all: he finds a way to prolong his life after death.

Santiago’s commitment to sailing out farther than any fisherman has before, to where the big fish promise to be, testifies to the depth of his pride. Yet, it also shows his determination to change his luck. Later, after the sharks have destroyed his prize marlin, Santiago chastises himself for his hubris (exaggerated pride), claiming that it has ruined both the marlin and himself. True as this might be, it is only half the picture, for Santiago’s pride also enables him to achieve his most true and complete self. Furthermore, it helps him earn the deeper respect of the village fishermen and secures him the prized companionship of the boy—he knows that he will never have to endure such an epic struggle again.

Santiago’s pride is what enables him to endure, and it is perhaps endurance that matters most in Hemingway’s conception of the world—a world in which death and destruction, as part of the natural order of things, are unavoidable. Hemingway seems to believe that there are only two options: defeat or endurance until destruction; Santiago clearly chooses the latter. His stoic determination is mythic, nearly Christ-like in proportion. For three days, he holds fast to the line that links him to the fish, even though it cuts deeply into his palms, causes a crippling cramp in his left hand, and ruins his back. This physical pain allows Santiago to forge a connection with the marlin that goes beyond the literal link of the line: his bodily aches attest to the fact that he is well matched, that the fish is a worthy opponent, and that he himself, because he is able to fight so hard, is a worthy fisherman. This connectedness to the world around him eventually elevates Santiago beyond what would otherwise be his defeat. Like Christ, to whom Santiago is unashamedly compared at the end of the novella, the old man’s physical suffering leads to a more significant spiritual triumph.

Manolin

Manolin is present only in the beginning and at the end of The Old Man and the Sea, but his presence is important because Manolin’s devotion to Santiago highlights Santiago’s value as a person and as a fisherman. Manolin demonstrates his love for Santiago openly. He makes sure that the old man has food, blankets, and can rest without being bothered. Despite Hemingway’s insistence that his characters were a real old man and a real boy, Manolin’s purity and singleness of purpose elevate him to the level of a symbolic character. Manolin’s actions are not tainted by the confusion, ambivalence, or willfulness that typify adolescence. Instead, he is a companion who feels nothing but love and devotion.

Hemingway does hint at the boy’s resentment for his father, whose wishes Manolin obeys by abandoning the old man after forty days without catching a fish. This fact helps to establish the boy as a real human being—a person with conflicted loyalties who faces difficult decisions. By the end of the book, however, the boy abandons his duty to his father, swearing that he will sail with the old man regardless of the consequences. He stands, in the novella’s final pages, as a symbol of uncompromised love and fidelity. As the old man’s apprentice, he also represents the life that will follow from death. His dedication to learning from the old man ensures that Santiago will live on.

The Old Man and The Sea: Character List

Santiago 

The old man of the novella’s title, Santiago is a Cuban fisherman who has had an extended run of bad luck. Despite his expertise, he has been unable to catch a fish for eighty-four days. He is humble, yet exhibits a justified pride in his abilities. His knowledge of the sea and its creatures, and of his craft, is unparalleled and helps him preserve a sense of hope regardless of circumstance. Throughout his life, Santiago has been presented with contests to test his strength and endurance. The marlin with which he struggles for three days represents his greatest challenge. Paradoxically, although Santiago ultimately loses the fish, the marlin is also his greatest victory.

The Marlin 

Santiago hooks the marlin, which we learn at the end of the novella measures eighteen feet, on the first afternoon of his fishing expedition. Because of the marlin’s great size, Santiago is unable to pull the fish in, and the two become engaged in a kind of tug-of-war that often seems more like an alliance than a struggle. The fishing line serves as a symbol of the fraternal connection Santiago feels with the fish. When the captured marlin is later destroyed by sharks, Santiago feels destroyed as well. Like Santiago, the marlin is implicitly compared to Christ.

Manolin

A boy presumably in his adolescence, Manolin is Santiago’s apprentice and devoted attendant. The old man first took him out on a boat when he was merely five years old. Due to Santiago’s recent bad luck, Manolin’s parents have forced the boy to go out on a different fishing boat. Manolin, however, still cares deeply for the old man, to whom he continues to look as a mentor. His love for Santiago is unmistakable as the two discuss baseball and as the young boy recruits help from villagers to improve the old man’s impoverished conditions.

Joe DiMaggio

Although DiMaggio never appears in the novel, he plays a significant role nonetheless. Santiago worships him as a model of strength and commitment, and his thoughts turn toward DiMaggio whenever he needs to reassure himself of his own strength. Despite a painful bone spur that might have crippled another player, DiMaggio went on to secure a triumphant career. He was a center fielder for the New York Yankees from 1936 to 1951, and is often considered the best all-around player ever at that position.

Perico

Perico, the reader assumes, owns the bodega in Santiago’s village. He never appears in the novel, but he serves an important role in the fisherman’s life by providing him with newspapers that report the baseball scores. This act establishes him as a kind man who helps the aging Santiago.
Martin - Like Perico, Martin, a café owner in Santiago’s village, does not appear in the story. The reader learns of him through Manolin, who often goes to Martin for Santiago’s supper. As the old man says, Martin is a man of frequent kindness who deserves to be repaid.

The Old Man and the Sea: Plot Overview

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 Santiago 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. 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.

The Old Man and the Sea: Plot Summary

The Old Man and the Sea is the story of a battle between an old, experienced fisherman and a large marlin. The novel opens with the explanation that the fisherman, who is named Santiago, has gone 84 days without catching a fish. Santiago is considered "salao", the worst form of unluckiness. In fact, he is 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, getting him food and discussing American baseball and his favorite player Joe DiMaggio. Santiago tells Manolin that on the next day, he will venture far out into the Gulf Stream, north of Cuba in the Straits of Florida to fish, confident that his unlucky streak is near its end. Thus on the eighty-fifth day, Santiago sets out alone, taking his skiff far onto the Gulf Stream. 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. He also determines that because of the fish's great dignity, no one will be worthy of eating the marlin. 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, uses all the strength he has left in him to pull the fish onto its side and stab the marlin with a harpoon, ending the long battle between the old man and the tenacious fish. Santiago straps the marlin to the side of 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. 

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, five sharks are slain and many others are driven away. But the sharks keep coming, and by nightfall the sharks have almost devoured the marlin's entire carcass, leaving a skeleton consisting mostly of its backbone, its tail and its head. Finally reaching the shore before dawn on the next day, Santiago struggles on the way to his shack, carrying the heavy mast on his shoulder. Once home, he slumps onto his bed and falls into a deep sleep. A group of fishermen gather the next day around the boat where the fish's skeleton is still attached. One of the fishermen measures it to be 18 feet (5.5 m) from nose to tail. 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 his youth—of lions on an African beach.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Animal Farm: Plot Summary


Animal Farm is a satirical fable set on Manor Farm, a typical English farm. Orwell employs a third-person narrator, who reports events without commenting on them directly. The narrator describes things as the animals perceive them.

Old Major calls a meeting of all the animals in the big barn. He announces that he may die soon and relates to them the insights he has gathered in his life. Old Major tells the animals that human beings are the sole reason that “No animal in England is free” and that “The life of an animal is misery and slavery.” Therefore the animals must take charge of their destiny by overthrowing Man in a great Rebellion. He relates his dream of rebellion.

Old Major dies soon after the meeting and the other animals prepare for the Rebellion under Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer’s leadership. One night, Mr. Jones passes out drunk, creating the perfect opportunity for the animals to rebel. They are so hungry that they break into the store-shed. When Jones and his men try to whip them into submission, the animals run them off the farm. The animals burn all reminders of their former bondage but agree to preserve the farmhouse “as a museum.” Snowball changes the name of the farm to “Animal Farm” and comes up with Seven Commandments, which are to form the basis of Animalism. They are:

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animals shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

The pigs milk the cows, and then the animals go out to begin the harvest. When they return, the milk has disappeared mysteriously. The first harvest is a great success. The animals adhere to the tenets of Animalism happily, and with good result. Each animal works according to his ability and gets a fair share of food.

Every Sunday, Snowball and Napoleon lead a meeting of all the animals in the big barn. The pigs are the most intelligent animals, so they think up resolutions for the other animals to debate. Soon after, the pigs set up a study-center for themselves in the harness-room. Snowball embarks on various campaigns for social and economic improvement. Napoleon opposes whatever Snowball does. Because most of the animals lack the intelligence to memorize the Seven Commandments, Snowball reduces them to the single maxim, “Four legs good, two legs bad.” The sheep take to chanting this at meetings.

As time goes by, the pigs increase their control over the animals and award themselves increasing privileges. They quell the animals’ questions and protests by threatening Mr. Jones’s return. During this time, Napoleon also confiscates nine newborn puppies and secludes them in a loft in order to “educate” them.

By late summer, Snowball’s and Napoleon’s pigeon-messengers have spread news of the Rebellion across half of England. Animals on other farms have begun lashing out against their human masters and singing the revolutionary song “Beasts of England.” Jones and other farmers try to recapture Animal Farm but fail. The animals celebrate their victory in what they call “The Battle of the Cowshed.”

The animals agree to let the pigs make all the resolutions. Snowball and Napoleon continue to be at odds and eventually clash over the windmill. Snowball wants to build a windmill in order to shorten the work week and provide the farm electricity, but Napoleon opposes it. Napoleon summons nine fierce dogs (the puppies he trained) to run Snowball off the farm. Napoleon announces that Sunday meetings will cease and that the pigs will make all the decisions in the animals’ best interest. At this point, Boxer takes on his own personal maxims, “I will work harder” and “Napoleon is always right.” In the spring, Napoleon announces plans to build the windmill, claiming that it was his idea all along—rewriting history.

Building the windmill forces the animals to work harder and on Sundays. Shortages begin to occur, so Napoleon opens up trade with the human world. Through Squealer, he lies that no resolutions against interaction with humans or the use of money had ever been passed. Napoleon enlists Whymper to be his intermediary, and the pigs move into the farmhouse. Squealer assures the animals that there is no resolution against this, butClover and Muriel discovers that one of the resolutions has been changed to: “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.” Squealer convinces her that there was never a resolution against beds at all.

One night, strong winds shake the farm and the animals awake to discover the windmill destroyed. Napoleon blames Snowball and sentences the expelled pig to death.

In the winter, as conditions become worse on Animal Farm, Napoleon deceives the human world into thinking Animal Farm is prospering. He signs a contract for a quota of four hundred eggs per week, inciting a hen rebellion that results in several deaths. Around the same time, Napoleon begins negotiating with Frederick and Pilkington to sell Animal Farm’s store of timber. He also spreads propaganda against Snowball, claiming that Snowball was always a spy and a collaborator while Napoleon was the true hero of the Battle of the Cowshed, and Squealer warns against Snowball’s secret agents.

Four days later, Napoleon holds an assembly in which he makes several animals confess to treachery and then has the dogs execute them. The dogs try to get Boxer to confess but leave him alone when they cannot overpower him. Afterwards, Clover and some other animals huddle together on a hill overlooking the farm. They reminisce about Animalism’s ideals and consider how much they differ from the violence and terror of Napoleon’s reign. They sing “Beasts of England,” but Squealer informs them that the song is useless now that the Rebellion is completed and that it is now forbidden. The new anthem begins with the lyrics: “Animal Farm, Animal Farm, / Never through me shalt thou come to harm!”

Another commandment is changed to read: “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” Clover and Muriel convince themselves that the commandment has always been this way. Squealer begins reading the animals statistics regularly to convince them that production is increasing. Napoleon seldom appears in public. The animals now call him “our Leader, Comrade Napoleon.” They attribute all misfortunes to Snowball and all success and luck to Napoleon.

Napoleon continues to negotiate with the farmers and eventually decides to sell the timber to Mr. Pilkington. At last, the windmill is finished and named “Napoleon Mill.” Soon after, Napoleon announces that he will sell the timber to Frederick, quickly changing his allegiance and disavowing his earlier vilification of Frederick. Napoleon says that Pilkington and Snowball have been collaborating. Frederick pays for the timber in fake cash, and the next morning, Frederick and his men invade the farm and blow up the windmill. The animals manage to chase the humans off, though many die or are injured in what they call “The Battle of the Windmill.”

After the battle, the pigs discover a case of whisky in the farmhouse. They drink to excess and soon, Squealer reports that Napoleon is dying and, as his last action, has made the consumption of alcohol punishable by death. But Napoleon recovers quickly and then sends Whymper to procure manuals on brewing alcohol. Squealer changes another commandment to “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.”

Napoleon plans to build a schoolhouse for the thirty-one young pigs he has parented. Towards the end of the winter, Napoleon begins increasing propaganda to distract the animals from inequality and hardship. He creates special “Spontaneous Demonstrations” in which the animals march around and celebrate their triumphs.

In April, Napoleon declares the farm a Republic and is elected unanimously as President. The animals continue to work feverishly, most of all Boxer. One day, Boxer collapses while overexerting himself. Napoleon promises to send him to the veterinarian in Willingdon. A few days later, a horse-slaughterer takes Boxer away in his van. The animals are none the wiser until Benjamin reads the lettering on the side of the van. A few days later, Squealer reports that Boxer died in the hospital despite receiving the best possible care. He claims that Boxer’s last words glorified Animal Farm and Napoleon. He also claims that the van belongs to the veterinarian, who recently bought it from the horse slaughterer and had not yet managed to paint over the lettering. Napoleon promises to honor Boxer with a special banquet. But the pigs use the money from his slaughter to buy a case of whisky, which they drink on the day appointed for the banquet.

Years go by, and though Animal Farm’s population has increased, only a few animals that remember the Rebellion remain. Conditions are still harsh despite technological improvements. The pigs and dogs continue to do no manual labor, instead devoting themselves to organizational work. One day, Squealer takes the sheep out to a deserted pasture where, he says, he is teaching them a song. On the day the sheep return, the pigs walk around the yard on their hind legs as the sheep chant, “Four legs good, two legs better.” The other animals are horrified. Clover consults the barn wall again. This time Benjamin reads to her. The Seven Commandments have been replaced with a single maxim: “All animals are equal / But some animals are more equal than others.”

The pigs continue the longstanding pattern of awarding themselves more and more privileges. They buy a telephone and subscribe to magazines. They even wear Jones’s clothing. One night, Napoleon holds a conciliatory banquet for the farmers. Pilkington makes a speech in which he says he wants to emulate Animal Farm’s long work hours and low rations. Napoleon announces that the farm will be called “Manor Farm” again, the animals will call each other “Comrade” no longer, and they no longer will march ceremoniously past Old Major’s skull (a practice he denies understanding). He also declares that the farm’s flag will be plain green, devoid of the symbols of the Rebellion. As the animals peer through the windows to watch the humans and pigs play poker, they cannot distinguish between them.

Animal Farm: Major Themes

The Soviet Union under Stalinism

Animal Farm is a satire of totalitarian governments in their many guises. But Orwell composed the book for a more specific purpose: to serve as a cautionary tale about Stalinism. It was for this reason that he faced such difficulty in getting the book published; by the time Animal Farm was ready to meet its readers, the Allies were cooperating with the Soviet Union. The allegorical characters of the novel represent specific historical figures and different factions of Imperial Russian and Soviet society. These include Karl Marx (Major), Vladimir Lenin (Major), Leon Trotsky (Snowball), Joseph Stalin (Napoleon), Adolf Hitler (Frederick), the Allies (Pilkington), the peasants (Boxer), the elite (Mollie), and the church (Moses).

The resemblance of some of the novel’s events to events in Soviet history is indubitable. For example, Snowball’s and Napoleon’s power struggle is a direct allegory of Trotsky’s and Stalin’s. Frederick’s trade agreement with Napoleon, and his subsequent breaking of the agreement, represents the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact that preceded World War II. The following Battle of the Windmill represents World War II itself.

Despite his fairy-tale clarity in satirizing some historical events, Orwell is less specific about others. For example, the executions in Chapter VII conflate the Red Terror with the Great Purge. The executions themselves bear resemblance to both events, although their details connect them more to the Moscow Trials than to the Red Terror. Squealer’s subsequent announcement that the executions have ended the Rebellion connects them to the period of the Red Terror, however. Orwell leaves some ambiguity in the identities of the Rebellion and the Battle of the Cowshed. These ambiguities help the reader focus on the overall satire of Stalinism and the broader warning about the evils of totalitarian government.

The Inevitability of Totalitarianism

Orwell held the pessimistic belief that totalitarianism was inevitable, even in the West. According to Russell Baker, who wrote the preface to Animal Farm’s 1996 Signet Classics version, Orwell’s pessimism stemmed from his having grown up in an age of dictatorship. Witnessing Hitler’s and Stalin’s movements from afar, as well as fighting totalitarianism in the Spanish Civil War, Orwell came to believe in the rise of a new species of autocrat, worse even than the tyrants of old. This cynicism is reflected in both of his highly successful novels, Animal Farm and 1984. Orwell emphasizes the insidiousness of totalitarianism early in the novel, when the pigs take the fresh milk and apples. The pigs justify their actions on the basis of their superiority; they are smart and need more nutrition than the other animals to fuel their brainpower. There is no scientific basis for the pigs’ claim—in fact, if anyone needs more food to fuel their labor, it is the manual laborers—but they can count on the animals’ being too ignorant to realize that. In this way, Orwell makes the point that totalitarianism need not be blatant in order to be operating. It can hide under the guise of the “greater good” as it did in the Soviet Union before the totalitarianism became obvious.

Orwell uses a cyclical structure in Animal Farm, which helps advance the idea of totalitarianism’s predictability. The novel begins with Jones as autocratic tyrant and ends with Napoleon not only in Jones’s position, but in his clothes as well. Over the course of the novel, Napoleon essentially becomes Jones just as Stalin becomes an autocrat after pretending to espouse equality and freedom. Orwell cements this idea in the book’s final scene, where he writes, “Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which” (139). The circularity of Orwell’s story prevents the reader from imagining a better future for Animal Farm. After all, even if another Rebellion were to take place, its leaders would eventually come to emulate Napoleon.

According to Baker, technology turned out to be the force freeing people from Orwell’s age of dictators. But “technology” can be just another banner under which to rally the people. While Orwell does portray technology as a source of progress in Animal Farm, he points out that it is useless unless it is in the people’s hands. Most notably, even when the windmill is finished it is used for milling corn instead of its original purpose of supplying the animals with electricity in their stalls.

Intelligence and Education as Tools of Oppression

From the very beginning of the novel, we become aware of education’s role in stratifying Animal Farm’s population. Following Major’s death, the pigs are the ones that take on the task of organizing and mobilizing the other animals because they are “generally recognized as being the cleverest of the animals” (35). At first, the pigs are loyal to their fellow animals and to the revolutionary cause. They translate Major’s vision of the future faithfully into the Seven Commandments of Animalism. However, it is not long before the pigs’ intelligence and education turn from tools of enlightenment to implements of oppression. The moment the pigs are faced with something material that they want—the fresh milk—they abandon their morals and use their superior intellect and knowledge to deceive the other animals.

The pigs also limit the other animals’ opportunities to gain intelligence and education early on. They teach themselves to read and write from a children’s book but destroy it before the other animals can have the same chance. Indeed, most of the animals never learn more than a few letters of the alphabet. Once the pigs cement their status as the educated elite, they use their mental advantage to manipulate the other animals. For example, knowing that the other animals cannot read the Seven Commandments, they revise them whenever they like. The pigs also use their literacy to learn trades from manuals, giving them an opportunity for economic specialization and advancement. Content in the role of the intelligentsia, the pigs forgo manual labor in favor of bookkeeping and organizing. This shows that the pigs have not only the advantage of opportunity, but also the opportunity to reject whatever opportunities they like. The pigs’ intelligence and education allow them to bring the other animals into submission through the use of propaganda and revisionism. At the book’s end, we witness Napoleon’s preparations to educate a new generation of pigs and indoctrinate them into the code of oppression.

Propaganda and Duplicity

Working as a propagandist during World War II, Orwell experienced firsthand both the immense power and the dishonesty of propaganda. Many types of governments make use of propaganda, not only totalitarian ones. Consider, for instance, the arguments that led many United States citizens to go along with the idea of invading Iraq after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Propaganda serves the positive task of uniting the people, sometimes at the cost of misleading them. Orwell takes a firm stance on the harmfulness of propaganda in Animal Farmwhile acknowledging its value for rallying a mistreated and disillusioned populace.

In Chapter IX, Orwell demonstrates the positive value of propaganda. By this point, the animals are so downtrodden that they are desperate for something in which to believe. (Note the irony, though: it is Napoleon who has robbed them of their belief in the original version of Animalism.) The falsely optimistic statistics, the songs, and especially the Spontaneous Demonstrations give the animals something to live for. This chapter is an exception in terms of portraying propaganda in a positive light. For the majority ofAnimal Farm, Orwell skewers propaganda and exposes its nature as deception.

Squealer represents a totalitarian government’s propaganda machine. Eloquent to a fault, he can make the animals believe almost anything. This fact is especially clear in Squealer’s interactions with Clover and Muriel. Each time Clover suspects that the Seven Commandments have been changed, Squealer manages to convince her that she is wrong. After the executions, Napoleon abolishes the singing of “Beasts of England” in favor of a new anthem, the lyrics of which contain a promise never to harm Animal Farm. In this propagandist maneuver, Napoleon replaces the revolutionary spirit of “Beasts of England” with the exact opposite, a promise not to rebel. In addition to being a source of manipulation, propaganda is an agent of fear and terror. Orwell demonstrates this quite clearly with Napoleon’s vilification of Snowball and his assurances that Snowball could attack the animals at any minute. He uses similar fear tactics regarding Frederick and Pilkington. The most egregious example of propaganda in the novel is the maxim that replaces the Seven Commandments: “All animals are equal / But some animals are more equal than others.” The idea of “more equal” is mathematically improbable and a nonsensical manipulation of language, but by this time, the animals are too brainwashed to notice.

Violence and Terror as Means of Control

In Animal Farm, Orwell criticizes the ways that dictators use violence and terror to frighten their populaces into submission. Violence is one of the yokes from which the animals wish to free themselves when they prepare for the Rebellion. Not only does Jones overwork the animals and steal the products of their labor, but he can whip or slaughter them at his discretion. Once the pigs gain control of the animals, they, like Jones, discover how useful violence and terror can be. They use this knowledge to their full advantage. The foremost example of violence and terror in the novel is the pattern of public executions. The executions can be said to represent both the Red Terror and the Great Purge, but they stand more broadly for the abuse of power. For example, they are also similar to the Taliban’s public executions in Kabul’s soccer stadium in modern Afghanistan.

Capital punishment for criminals is a hotly debated issue. Killing suspected criminals, as Napoleon does, is quite another issue. The executions perhaps best symbolize the Moscow Trials, which were show trials that Stalin arranged to instill fear in the Soviet people. To witnesses at the time, the accused traitors’ confessions seemed to be given freely. In fact, they were coerced. Napoleon likely coerces confessions from many of the animals that he executes. Orwell’s use of the allegory genre serves him well in the execution scene. Execution with weapons is a violent and horrifying act, but many people have become desensitized to it. Orwell’s allegorical executioners, the dogs that kill cruelly, portray the bloody and inescapably animalistic side of execution.

Terror comes also in threats and propaganda. Each time the animals dare to question an aspect of Napoleon’s regime, Squealer threatens them with Jones’s return. This is doubly threatening to the animals because it would mean another battle that, if lost, would result in a return to their former lifestyle of submission. Jones’s return is such a serious threat that it quashes the animals’ curiosity without fail. The other major example of fear tactics in the novel is the threat of Snowball and his collaborators. Napoleon is able to vilify Snowball in the latter’s absence and to make the animals believe that his return, like Jones’s, is imminent. Snowball is a worse threat than Jones, because Jones is at least safely out of Animal Farm. Snowball is “proved” to be not only lurking along Animal Farm’s borders but infiltrating the farm. Napoleon’s public investigation of Snowball’s whereabouts cements the animals’ fear of Snowball’s influence. In modern language, Snowball is pegged as the terrorist responsible for the infringements on the rights and liberties instigated by the pigs.

Exploitation and the Need for Human Rights

Exploitation is the issue around which the animals unite. Initially, the animals do not realize Jones is exploiting them. For this reason, Old Major’s speech is a revelation of momentous proportions. Major explains to the animals that they are enslaved and exploited and that Man is to blame. He teaches them not only what exploitation means, but also the fact that it is not inevitable. Orwell suggests that exploitation is, in fact, bound to happen when one class of society has an advantage over another. The opposite of exploitation, according to Major, is the state of being “rich and free.” Major’s ideas about animal rights symbolize the importance—and scarcity—of human rights in an oppressive regime. Gaining freedom does not necessarily lead people also to become rich, but it is better to be poor and free than poor and exploited.

All the animals on Animal Farm are exploited under Napoleon’s control, save the pigs. Even the dogs, which work closely with the pigs, are exploited. The dogs face perhaps even a worse form of exploitation than the other animals, because they are made into agents of intimidation and death. Whereas Napoleon exploits the other animals’ physical strength and their ignorance, he exploits the dogs’ viciousness and turns them into villains against their parents’ wishes.

Boxer’s life is a particularly sad example of exploitation because he exploits himself, believing wholeheartedly in Napoleon’s goodness. In the end, Napoleon turns the tables and exploits Boxer, having him slaughtered for profit. By the end of the novel, we see clearly how the animals participate in their own exploitation. They are beginning to build a schoolhouse for the thirty-one young pigs Napoleon has fathered (perhaps an oblique reference to the “Thirty Tyrants” of ancient Greece). That schoolhouse will never benefit the animals that build it; rather, it will be used to educate the pigs and indoctrinate them into the cycle of exploiting others. Throughout the novel, Orwell shows us how the lack of human rights results in total helplessness. However, though it underscores the need for human rights, the novel does not suggest how to achieve them. After all, once the animals expel Jones and gain rights for themselves, the pigs take those rights away and the cycle of exploitation continues with new players.

Apathy and Acceptance

In the beginning of Animal Farm, the idea of freedom rouses the animals as if from a long slumber. Immediately following Major’s death, the animals begin preparing themselves for the Rebellion; just the idea of revolution is enough to motivate them, since they do not expect it to happen in their lifetimes. By the book’s end, the animals have become as apathetic as Benjamin always was. Despite the many hardships and injustices they face, the animals’ pride as well as Napoleon’s propaganda keep them invested in the “greater good” and the illusion of freedom. If Benjamin is the harbinger of apathy, Boxer is its antithesis. Strong not only in body but also in spirit, Boxer will make any sacrifice for the benefit of Animal Farm. With Boxer’s eventual betrayal by the leaders he served so unconditionally, Orwell lays bare another type of apathy—theirs. Far from truly considering Boxer a loyal comrade, the pigs treat him as apathetically as they would a mere object. Symbolically, they even make a profit by having him turned into literal objects—glue and bone meal.

Boxer’s enthusiasm does not give him an advantage, but the other animals’ eventual apathy gives them a defense mechanism against the painful reality of their lives. It is no coincidence that Animal Farm’s most apathetic and cynical animal, Benjamin, is one of those that survives the longest. Benjamin’s emotional detachment from situations, whether they are good or bad, keeps him from being disappointed. In his apathy and cynicism, Benjamin represents the stereotypical “gloomy” Russian and also the perennially pessimistic Orwell himself.

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