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Free Study Guide-The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
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THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA - FREE BOOKNOTES SUMMARY

SECTION 3 - Santiago’s Plans for the Day and The Role of DiMaggio in his Life

Summary

The old man informs Manolin that he intends to go far out into the sea the next day, leaving before it is light. As a foreshadowing, the boy worries that if Santiago hooks a truly big fish, there will not be anybody to help him with it. The boy asks Santiago if he is really strong enough to handle a giant fish; the old man replies that he will be aided by his knowledge of the sea and fishing and helped by a few tricks that he knows as well. Santiago shows he is slightly superstitious, claiming that eighty-five is his lucky number. He feels certain that the next day will put an end to his string of bad luck days.

As dusk begins to gather, Santiago and the boy carry the old man’s fishing equipment up to his shack. On the walls of the hut are colored pictures of Jesus and the Virgin. He has removed the picture of his wife because being reminded of her constantly made him feel lonely. It is obvious that Santiago is extremely poor, for his house is meager. Additionally, he sometimes has nothing to eat for several days together. He has had to sell his cast net a long time ago.

Since there is no plumbing in the hut, Santiago has to go down the street to get water. Manolin notices that the old man has no soap or towels and reproaches himself for having been too thoughtless to provide them. He promises himself to bring both of them the next day, as well as a shirt, jacket, shoes, and another blanket for the old man.

Santiago has brought in the previous day’s newspaper, borrowed from Pedrico, the fish-line maker. He wants to read about the Yankees, his favorite baseball team, led by the great Joe DiMaggio; under DiMaggio’s guidance, the old man has absolute confidence in the Yankees.

The boy reminds Santiago that it is September, and the old man comments that it is in September that the truly great fish come, another foreshadowing of the upcoming event for the old fisherman. Manolin leaves to go and get sardines for Santiago to use in the morning. When he returns, the old man is fast asleep in the chair. Like a devoted son, the boy wraps an old blanket round Santiago. As he tucks in the blanket, Manolin realizes that the old man has strangely powerful shoulders and a strong neck. Once the old fisherman is covered, the boy goes away to bring supper. When he returns, the old man is still asleep. When he finally wakes, the boy forces the old man to eat the dinner of black beans, rice, fried bananas, and stew, telling him he needs his strength for fishing. Then with fierce loyalty, Manolin promises Santiago that as long as he is alive, the old man will not go without food. The old man blesses the boy and tells him to thank Martin, the owner of The Terrace Restaurant, for providing the food and the beer.


While eating, Santiago and Manolin discuss baseball, especially the Yankees. Santiago admires DiMaggio a lot because, despite the pain of a bone spur in his heel, he plays baseball with great confidence and courage. The two friends remember that DiMaggio used to come to the Terrace Restaurant from time to time, but both of them were too timid to ask him to go fishing with them. They also speak of the lions, which Santiago has seen on the beaches of Africa.

Before retiring for the night, talk returns to fishing, and Manolin tells Santiago that he is the best fisherman in the village. Santiago hopes that no big fish comes along to prove the boy wrong.

Notes

In this section of the novel, the easy relationship between Santiago and Manolin is established. They share a father-son, master-pupil, and comrade-to-comrade relationship. The boy admires and adores the old man, who, in turn, loves the boy. They also share an interest in manly sport of baseball, both of them preferring the Yankees. While Santiago is out on the sea alone, he thinks about Manolin and wishes that the boy were with him.

Hemingway’s attitude to manhood is interesting. According to him, a man proves his worth by possessing a toughness, coupled with sentimentality, and proving that he can act with grace under pressure. Santiago, though aged, destitute, and unlucky, is still a tough guy. He fights the fish for three days, never giving up. Even his dreams have a toughness to them, as he sees the lions on the beach in Africa. At the same time, Santiago is never ashamed to reveal his deep feelings for Manolin. The boy is presented in a similar manner to Santiago. Though still a child, he proves he is tough, fishing to help support his family and carrying heavy items for Santiago. The boy’s open and frankly sentimental admiration for the old man is a total contrast to his unflinching toughness.

Additionally, in this section of the novel, two significant aspects that are essential to the unraveling of the plot are revealed: the concepts of faith and pain. In spite of his ill luck, the old fisherman still possesses faith, both in himself and in the fact that his luck will change. An eternal optimist, he dares to believe that tomorrow will be better. He also has faith in the Yankees led by DiMaggio and admiration for the man who plays so well in spite of his painful bone spur; in fact, DiMaggio becomes a symbol of great strength to the old man and often appears in his thoughts and dreams. Santiago, reflecting Hemingway’s own attitude, believes that man must persevere no matter the pain or pressure. When he fights the giant fish, the old fisherman proves he can endure the pain through sheer determination and will power.

 

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