Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is a modern morality tale and allegory that reveals the following:
Plot: Santiago is an old Cuban fisherman who has had an unlucky streak. To redeem himself, he ventures far out and catches a great marlin. When hauling it to shore, the carcass is ravaged by sharks. Santiago returns to shore with only a skeleton.
Themes: Man's ability to deal with suffering, pain, and age. Man's communal journey hows how man's journey into nature leads to suffering and self-knowledge. The skill of an old fisherman can inspire a youthful disciple.
Style: the novella is written in the plain, tough style of a biblical parable: few adjectives, short sentences, an objective and matter-of-fact tone, and an honest and ethical narrative voice.
Symbols: nature (air, water, land); fish (marlin vs. sharks); Santiago's hands; the great DiMaggio; Manolin (the disciple); the cross-like mast he carries home