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Please explain your understanding of the quote and then explain to which theme the...

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chuckyii | Student, Grade 10

Posted April 25, 2011 at 9:13 PM via web

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Please explain your understanding of the quote and then explain to which theme the quote relates in The Old Man and the Sea.

"he was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility. But he knew he had attained it and knew it was not disgraceful and it carried  no loss of true pride".

 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 20, 2011 at 4:25 PM (Answer #1)

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This passage is from the exposition of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.  As the novella opens, Santiago has had no luck fishing in eighty-four days. His friend, the boy, has been told by his father to fish with others who are more fortunate.  And, the other fishermen ridicule him, but he is not angry.  Still others, the older fishermen glance and him and become melancholic, but they dissemble and speak politely about the currents and depths to which they have drifted their lines. 

When the boy offers to bring Santiago two sardines for bait, the "old man" agrees without protest. 

He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility.  But he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of true pride.

He tells the boy that tomorrow will be a good day.  Santiago says this more, however, for the boy's sake than for his own.  For, now that he is older, Santiago does not always care so much about himself.  He does not argue over things anymore, either.  Indeed, these lines pertain to the theme of Youth and Old Age."  For, when he was young, Santiago would not have been so quiet about having no fish for so long.  The boys' deference to him also touches upon the social concern of the notion of respect and concern for the aged, and the loneliness of old age.

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