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 perseverance shown in The Old Man and the Sea?

Santiago reveals perseverance in many ways. He continues to fish, although it has been eighty-four days since his last catch. He persists in battling the marlin for two days until he defeats it. He tries with all his power to fight off the sharks. He is determined, despite losing the marlin, to fish again the next day.

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The old man, Santiago, shows many signs of perseverance. First, he continues to go out fishing although it has been eighty-four days since he caught anything. When he does go out on the eighty-fifth day and catches a giant marlin, he refuses to give up in his fight with the fish, although it goes on for two days. He cuts his hands up holding the rope attached to the marlin and must eat the rest of his bait to have the strength to battle on, but he perseveres until he has killed the weakened fish with his harpoon.

When he finds out it is too large for his fishing boat, Santiago persists by tying the marlin to the boat. When the mako shark attacks, Santiago, though exhausted, stabs him with the harpoon. The dying mako tears off a piece of the marlin and the blood attracts more sharks. The old man fights them off with everything in his power. When his harpoon breaks, he continues to fight, but there are too many for him, and they strip all the flesh from the marlin.

Even though he has nothing left of the marlin to sell, the old man persists in carrying the skeleton to shore, where people marvel at its size. And although the battle has cost him, Santiago has every determination to fish again the following day.

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