The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Compare the old man and the fish in The Old Man and the Sea.

Expert Answers info

jc8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write42 answers

starTop subject is Literature

The fish is both a competitor and a companion for the old man, Santiago. The old man, a skilled and knowledgeable fisherman, has been competing all of his life. As a young man, he competed in a twenty-four-hour arm-wrestling match against the “strongest man on the docks.” Blood dripping down both of their arms, the men were evenly matched until the very end, when Santiago exerted a final effort that defeated his competitor. Similarly, when he hooks the fish, he quickly realizes that this fish is like no other fish he has seen; it too is a worthy competitor that will take all of his effort, experience, strength, and knowledge in order to defeat. Even without seeing the fish, he imagines the powerful fins, the tail, and even the huge, all-seeing eyes. Interestingly, the old man’s shoulders and eyes are also described as still powerful and not weakened by age. The toll of killing this fish is brutal: during the three days spent battling this fish, the old man has had little food,...

(The entire section contains 6 answers and 984 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write9,157 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,968 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write4,539 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write2,050 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write1,918 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial