The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea book cover
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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Analyze in detail the relationship between Santiago and Manolin.

2. The main theme of the book is summed up in the single sentence: "A man can be destroyed but not defeated." Discuss in detail the meaning of this theme and the ways in which the book develops and illustrates the idea.

3. Compare Santiago's feeling about the sharks with his feeling about all the other creatures in the book.

4. Analyze in detail the old man's relationship with the marlin. Discuss his love, respect, and pity for it, and his determination to kill it. In how many ways are the man and fish "joined together"?

5. Discuss Santiago as a Christ-figure. Be sure to note the specific details that link Santiago with Christian imagery. The pattern of Santiago's experience is suffering and endurance; is it also somehow redemptive?