I have to make a symbolism booklet with ten symbols from The Old Man and the Sea. I have eight so far. What are two additional symbols?I already have eight symbols which are: the marlin, the lions,...

I have to make a symbolism booklet with ten symbols from The Old Man and the Sea. I have eight so far. What are two additional symbols?

I already have eight symbols which are: the marlin, the lions, the shovel nosed sharks, the mast, the sea, the lost harpoon, Joe DiMaggio, and Manolin. I need two more.

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stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

See the attached answer to a previous question regarding the symbolic meaning of the skiff used by Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea.

You could also focus on the symbolism in the use, injury, and continued use of his hand. The determination and strength of commitment to complete what he has begun, even in the face of intense physical pain and great mental and physical exhaustion, is a tribute to the power and dedication Santiago brought with him to the challenge of capturing his "great fish." He is angry with his left hand as if it was a separate thing, not a part of his entire body.

"What kind of a hand is that," he said. "Cramp then if you want. Make yourself into a claw. It will do you no good."

But he recognizes that it has value and that both hands played their role in his battle. "The hands have done their work and we sail well."

Interesting assignment!

creativethinking's profile pic

creativethinking | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Here are some ideas for three additional symbols--see which you prefer!

Santiago:

If the sea is a symbol, it makes sense that the old man himself is also a symbol. In the eNotes guide on this classic Hemingway novella, it references a symbolic function of Santiago under the theme of "the human condition": "A single human being, represented by the fisherman Santiago, is blessed with the intelligence to do big things and to dream of even grander things." So Santiago can stand for the dreamer in all of us, who struggles to bring his dreams and hard work to realization. Watching him fail evokes our own failures, and forces us to consider whether the struggle or the result is worth more in the end.

Wife's portrait:

Santiago's wife is dead and gone, and even takes her portrait down to avoid feeling lonely. In the eNotes summary of day one, we see Santiago at the end of the day, "He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor his wife." It is clear that the memory of his wife is too painful for Santiago to recall; therefore, her portrait (and its removal) could be considered symbolicof lost love, moving on, and connection to one's past.

Sail:

In a quotationfrom the "essential passages" section of the eNotes study guide, we get a pretty direct nod from Hemingway about the symbolic nature of Santiago's sail: "The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat." The patchy sail has "defeat" written all over it.

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