The Old Man and the Sea Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea book cover
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How is nature depicted in The Old Man and the Sea?

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In Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, nature is presented as bigger than man. Santiago is just about dwarfed by the power of the ocean, which is presented as a morally neutral force. Like Stephen Crane's naturalistic classic "The Open Boat," where a group stranded at sea experience anxiety over their precarious position, the sea and the universe at large are presented as indifferent to mankind's feelings and survival.

Santiago's relation to nature may not be entirely good, but he is able to survive despite nature's indifference. In fact, Santiago loves nature, taking pleasure from the beauty of the ocean, the sky, and even the animals of the deep sea. Therefore, though nature is indifferent, it is still beautiful and helpful to mankind.

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