What does the following quote mean, from Ernest Hemmingway's book The Old man and the Sea?"Eat it so that the point of the hook goes into your heart and kills you, he thought. Come up easy and let...

What does the following quote mean, from Ernest Hemmingway's book The Old man and the Sea?

"Eat it so that the point of the hook goes into your heart and kills you, he thought. Come up easy and let me put the harpoon into you. All right. Are you ready? Have you been long enough at table?"

Is there any symbolism in this quote?

Expert Answers
kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though it could mean a variety of things, to me it suggests the length of the old man's ordeal and the idea that perhaps he is due an easy big catch, not a fish that will fight him and give him trouble.

Of course the fish is not ready, he has not been long enough at table and will fight and fight and fight, but in doing so he will also remind the old man of the dignity of the fight and the struggle, of the power to be found in the pursuit, even desperate pursuit, of a goal, even a simple one such as catching a fish.

In some ways, the old man too could come up easy and let someone put the harpoon in him, but he won't, he refuses to give in to his age or his condition or his bad luck.

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The Old Man and the Sea

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