Untitled Essay Research Paper Old Man and

Untitled Essay, Research Paper

Old Man and The Sea

In the novel The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway uses the

literary device of metaphors. Hemingway uses the metaphor of the ocean

to symbolize life and to depict the role that individuals play in life.

Hemingway uses the metaphor of the lions to signify people who live

their lives as active participants. The tourists in the novel represent

the individuals, who in observe their lives and are not active

participants. In the novels that Ernest Hemingway writes, he uses

metaphors to reflect his life experiences and opinions. The ocean in

The Old Man and the Sea is a metaphor, which representsHemingway’s personel view of life. Hemingway believes that in life

everyone must findtheir own niche and uses the metaphor of the ocean and the boats on it

to demonstratethis….most of the boats were silent except for the dip of the oars.

They spread apart after they were out of the mouth of the harbour and

each one headed for the part of the ocean where he hoped to find fish.

The old man knew he was going far out…1(page 22)Hemingway feels that in life there are people who participate in life

and people whoobserve life as it passes just like on the ocean where there are boats

that do not test theirboundaries. The boats are the people in life, and most of the boats are

silent. They paddlewithin the areas they know to be safe and always are cautious not to

upset the life thatthey have established for themselves. Hemingway is explaining that most

people don’traise a commotion, they just allow life to happen to them. The old man

is testing hislimits, he is challenging the ocean, and rowing where he wants to go,

not where the oceanwants to take him. Hemingway believes that in life, the farther a

person stays from theobservers, the more free and exhilarated they will be.If there is a hurricane, you always see the signs of it in the sky for

days ahead, if you are at sea. They do not see it ashore because they

do not know what to look for, he thought. The land must make a

difference too, in the shape of the clouds. But we have no hurricane

coming now.2(page 51)Hemingway theorizes that in life there are going to be unexpected

collisions. Just as thesea creates storms life creates storms. Those who live life to the

fullest will be the leastaffected by these storms because they have the strength and the

knowledge to handlethem, but the observers or those on land will be destroyed because they

do not have thepower to handle the destruction that the storms will cause. The

individuals who are farout to sea have the knowledge that the ocean will test them with

momentous storms, andthis is why they go so far out to sea. The people who Hemingway thinks

face life head-on are represented by lions in the novel. Hemingway uses the metaphor of the lion to depict the

participants in life.When Santiago is a child he visits Africa, and tells Manolin of the

lions he sees. “When Iwas your age I was before the mast on a square-rigged ship and that

ship ran to Africaand I have seen lions on the beaches in the evening.”3(page 17)

Hemingway uses thelions on the beach as a metaphor, because most lions would never be

found on a beach.The only lions that would ever be found on a beach are the lions who

are equivalent tothe humans who are participants. The lions on the beach are going where

most lionswould never dare go. These lions are testing their boundaries, seeing

just how far theycan go, just like participants. This line also hints at Hemingway’s

belief that ageimpairs, but does not extinguish one’s ability to be participants in

their own lives.Santiago realizes that all of his glories were in his youth, and

strongly relates the powerthat the lions in his dreams have to his youth. He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of


occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests


strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the

lions on the beach. The played like young cats in the dusk and he loved

them as he loved the boy. He never dreamed about the boy.4(page 19)Santiago is slowly losing his ability to be an effective participant in

his life because of thelimitations that are associated with aging. Hemingway also experiences

inabilitiesthat he has never known and which brings him into a depression.

Santiago is beginningto believe that he is not a participant in his life so he doesn’t

depress himself bydreaming of anything other than the lions, who are participants. In his

dreams, Santiago isliving vicariously through the lions. The lions represent all that

Hemingway ever was,and what he wishes he still could be. The tourists in the novel are

metaphors for whatHemingway isn’t. The tourists are metaphors for the people Hemingway


live their lives aspassive observers. The tourists appear only briefly but the statement

that Hemingwaymakes through them is profound. That afternoon there was a party of tourist at the Terrace


looking down in the water among the empty beer cans and dead barracudas

a woman saw a great long white spine with a huge tail at the end that

lifted and swung with the tide while the east wind blew a heavy steady

sea outside the entrance to the harbor. ‘What’s that?’ she asked a

waiter and pointed to the long backbone of the great fish that was just

now garbage waiting to go out with the tide. ‘Tiburon,’ the waiter

said, ‘Eshark.’ He was meaning to explain what dare grapple happened.

‘I didn’t know sharks had such handsome tails.’ ‘I didn’t either,’ her

male companion said.5(page 109)These two tourists who speak are hardly differentiated from the group

to which theybelong. They are all metaphors for individuals who are spectators of

the human scenerather than participants in its activity. They see, but they see

without fullycomprehending. They are only faintly curious, only passingly

interested, onlysuperficially observing, they have not been initiated into the

mysteries that Santiago understands. These tourists live their lives as

tourists, skimming the surface of life, without resolution or clarity.

Their life reflects that of all people who live their lives ashore, who

dare not grapple with the mysteries of the ocean, or of life. This is

the type of life that Hemingway always tried to avoid, to the point of

his taking his own life. Hemingway uses metaphors to reflect his

opinions of life and the people that he has met in life. The metaphor

of the sea symbolizes all of life and the roles that people must choose

to have in life. The lions are a metaphor for the people Hemingwayrespects and the type of person Hemingway is. The tourists are a

metaphor for theindividuals who choose to live their life as onlookers but never

participants. ThroughHemingway’s use of penetrating metaphors in his novels, readers gain an

understandingof Hemingway’s life and or their own. Through his novels Hemingway

challengesevery member of society to admit that most people are observers and

through his novelsdares them to head out to sea and catch their marlin.BibliographyHemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. Triad Grafton. London. 1976*All subsequent entries are from this source*


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