Are there extrinsic elements such as psychology in The Old Man and the Sea? Please give the analysis.

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly any text can be analysed from a psychological point of view, and this brilliant tale by Hemingway is no exception. One way into considering this novel psychologically is to consider how love is presented. You might want to think about how love is depicted as an enduring force that stands against the profound indifference of the world at large to man's plight. The power of love is of course most stridently symbolised in the friendship between Santiago and Manolin, which maintains its closeness even in spite of Santiago's failure. Santiago has taught Manolin to fish and given him a sense of self-esteem, and Manolin looks after Santiago, running errands for him and bringing him food. It is only Manolin that understands what Santiago has endured at the end, weeping for his friend at his sufferings:

The boy saw that the old man was breathing and then he saw the old man's hands and he started to cry. He went out very quietly to go to bring some coffee and all the way down the road he was crying.

Psychologically, therefore, the love that Manolin and Santiago share is shown to be a sustaining force in the life of Santiago. It is one thing that helps him combat despair and the sense of failure that threatens to overwhelm him. It is Manolin's devotion to Santiago that allows him to find the energy to carry on dreaming at the end of the novel, suggesting the unquenchable nature of the human spirit.

Read the study guide:
The Old Man and the Sea

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question