Since Hemingway’s novel “The Old Man and the Sea” was published in 1952, it has been continuously loved by the world. Hemingway was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature with “The Old Man and the Sea”. Its plot and the lesson are already well known. The novel also has something in common with this month’s theme of Wisdoms ‘abandonment.’
The main character of the novel is Santiago, a fisherman who catches fish on a skiff in a Cuban fishing village. Since he hasn’t caught any fish for 84 days, even a boy who typically follows him has to take another boat. Santiago alone rows a skiff to the deep sea far from land and finally catches a big marlin that is bigger than his skiff. Due to its enormous size and weight, he has a battle lasting over two days but eventually wins. He then straps the fish on the side of his skiff and returns home. On the way back, he is attacked by sharks which are attracted to the fish blood. In order to keep his fish, he has to battle the sharks. But the marlin was eaten by the sharks and only head and bones remained. Nevertheless, Santiago does not regret what he has done. The story ends with the Old Man falling asleep beside a worried boy who visits him.
Hemingway is famous for proving the values of his self by overcoming the challenges he faces in nature. In this novel, of course, you can also find his values. When the marlin, which is longer than his skiff, takes the bait, the Old Man tests his limit by throwing a harpoon and pulling the fishing lines with his bleeding hands. Through this battle, he has proven the capability of man that has to endure ordeal for victory.
The Old Man says to himself during his pain and danger, “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”This saying of the Old Man deeply inspires readers. His lonely battle that might seem futile rings a bell to those who easily give up,which is a weakness that is inherent in human.
The marlin that the Old Man has finally attained by never giving up in the ordeal symbolizes the goal of life for any human. In order to accomplish the goal, a continuous fight with the self is inevitable. Everyone should go forward by boldly abandoning the fear of defeat. The Old Man considers the sea as a bosom of mother and feels brotherhood from a fish that goes by nature’s flow and gets caught. That is, when the adaptation to nature becomes the foundation, the fight at the sea, fear and failure all disappear at once. Only when you face up to the reality and go with the flow, you would overcome the fight with yourself even if it might leave scars on your body and mind.
When the Old Man reaches the land, he has been left with the bones of the fish. However, he is neither disappointed nor regretful. He could adapt to the reality by gallantly abandoning arrogance that he might have formed from his accomplishment. It is a clever action to adamantly let go of bothering delusions rather than being unnecessarily afraid of unbeneficial situations, just like the Old Man who adapts to the reality even when facing hardship. That is when it is established that a man can be destroyed but not defeated. In order to wisely overcome ordeals, abandonment is required. If anyone abandons fear of failure, our life will mature more firmly.