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

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

In The Old Man and the Sea, they say "a man can be destroyed but not defeated," explain this quote.

Expert Answers info

Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12), Professional Writer

bookB.A. from Calvin University

bookM.A. from Dordt University

calendarEducator since 2014

write6,393 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

I think the best way to explain this quote is to think of a person as a physical being as well as a spiritual/emotional being. A man (person) can be physically destroyed. That person's body can go through trauma that breaks that person down bit by bit. Ironman triathletes are a good example. By the end of the race, their bodies have been absolutely destroyed regardless of winning or losing; however, that competitive spirit that drives the athlete is still present. Even though that athlete may have lost the race, their spirit to push harder and try again is never defeated. It is similar with the old man in this story. His gear is broken, his hands are wrecked, he hungers and thirsts as his rations...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 408 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

kapokkid eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write2,387 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial