Illustration of a marlin in the water

The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway

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Summary of the introduction and conclusion of The Old Man and the Sea


The introduction of The Old Man and the Sea presents Santiago, an old fisherman who has gone 84 days without catching a fish, highlighting his perseverance. The conclusion depicts Santiago's epic struggle with a giant marlin, which he eventually catches but loses to sharks. Despite his loss, Santiago's spirit remains undefeated, symbolizing resilience and the dignity of human struggle.

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Describe the start and conclusion of The Old Man and the Sea.

This question appears to be asking about the story's exposition and conclusion. In the exposition, readers are introduced to the old man that the title mentions. The story's location is in Cuba, somewhere near Havana, and the story is placed during the 1940s. We find out right away that the old man is a fisherman, and he hasn't had any luck catching fish lately. In fact, he has gone 84 days without catching anything. That problem is compounded by the coming winter, and the man has no money, food, or additional clothing. Nevertheless, he continues to go out and fish. He hooks a very big marlin, and a major piece of the story is his struggle to kill it and bring it back to shore. Unfortunately, sharks eat his catch, and the old man returns with nothing. The story ends with the old man dreaming about lions, and that means the old man is not defeated. He is still going to keep on fishing and fighting.

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What is the introduction in The Old Man and the Sea?

The story of The Old Man and the Sea begins by giving us the setting. Santiago fishes alone in the Gulf Stream and has been very unsuccessful for the past 84 days. The fact that we are given a specific number shows us that he has been counting. Manolin was fishing with him until day 40, when his parents ordered him to switch boats because they deemed Santiago unlucky, or salao. It describes Santiago as a tanned, weathered old man with cheerful eyes. Manolin reaffirms his faith in Santiago, and assures him that he would rather be fishing with him.

The two of them go to the Terrace where the other fishermen are to have a beer and talk. Some react respectfully to Santiago, while others make fun of him. Manolin relives some old memories of fishing with Santiago when he was five years old. Manolin helps Santiago carry the gear, and they go to the old man's home and discuss baseball. Later, Manolin will return to bring Santiago dinner. Since Santiago has not caught any fish in 84 days, he cannot afford to eat, but Manolin helps him out with respect and sensitivity.

The beginning of the book focuses on Santiago and Manolin's close relationship, and their caring for one another. It also explains and emphasizes the need for Santiago to catch a fish, not only to support himself, but also to restore his pride in his own abilities and his reputation among the other fishermen.

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What is the introduction in The Old Man and the Sea?

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is a short novel that Hemingway wrote in 1951 and that was first published in 1952. The work is written in the third person, using Hemingway's characteristic simple language and syntax. The third person narrator of the story is omniscient, having access to the actions and minds of all characters in the story. The narrator is not intrusive, and does not break the illusion of the story by directly addressing readers or reflecting on the fictional nature of the story. 

The two main characters of the story are Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman, and Manolin, a young boy who was his apprentice. Santiago has been unlucky and gone 85 days without catching a fish. On the 86th day, he sets out to sea and manages, in a heroic battle, to catch an 18-foot marlin, but sharks follow the scent of its blood and eat most of its flesh before he can get it back to the harbor, meaning that he will not be able to earn much money from it. Santiago is badly injured in this voyage. Manolin, who has had faith in Santiago despite the long run of bad luck, feels vindicated in his faith in Santiago by this record catch. 

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