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

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Explain the main theme of the novel using two plot actions as evidence.

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The Old Man and the Sea contains many themes. The first is the Honor in Struggle, Defeat & Death Santiago is characterized as someone struggling against defeat. But the old man refuses defeat at every turn: He lands the marlin after a brutal three-day fight, and he continues to ward off sharks from stealing his prey, even though he knows the battle is useless.  Because Santiago is pitted against the creatures of the sea, some readers choose to view the tale as a chronicle of man’s battle against the natural world, but the novella is, more accurately, the story of man’s place within nature. Both Santiago and the marlin display qualities of pride, honor, and bravery, and both are subject to the same eternal law: they...

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