What does the marlin symbolize/represent?
Most perceptive readers will feel that Hemingway is telling his own story through the humble fisherman inThe Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway was getting old and hadn't written a successful novel in a long time. The marlin can be said to represent the inspiration he badly needed for a new novel. Hemingway was quite a fisherman himself and could emphasize with the poor fishermen like Santiago who had to catch fish in order to survive. The sharks that devoured most of the big fish could be said to represent all the critics and imitators and competitors Hemingway had had to deal with in his lifetime. Hemingway admired courage, and he displayed courage as a writer even as he was getting old and losing the imaginative powers he had possessed in abundance earlier in his career. Hemingway went out on his motor launch nearly every afternoon while he lived in Cuba. It would have been natural to think about a fishing story while he was fishing for marlins himself.The Old Man and the Seawas a spectacular success.