What Is The Significance Of The Christian Symbolism In The Old Man And The Sea

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Ernest Hemingway wrote seven outstanding novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction pieces. In Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea, the author portrays the importance of man’s struggle against the forces of nature by creating a story interpreted as fable, fantasy, and fiction. This book observes a person who experiences trials and troubles, showing us the significance in his experience and clarifying that meaning. The Old Man and the Sea can be interpreted as a fable because of its moral teachings. It can also be seen as a fantasy since the story expresses an unconscious wish or anxiety. It can be understood as realistic fiction through its genuine characters and experiences that replicates actual life. Ernest Hemingway’s …show more content…
Man’s struggle against the forces of nature was the main theme Hemingway wrote about in his novel. The primary topics the author focused on seemed to echo throughout the story with hidden meanings using Christian symbolism, questionable moral issues, and tidy Christian parallels. One example of Christian symbolism in The Old Man and the Sea was "The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him." The Christian symbolism apparent in this quote depicts Santiago in the role of Christ teaching the boy to fish just as Christ had taught his disciples. Santiago says, “A man can be destroyed but not defeated,” which exemplifies Hemingway’s style, but also has deeper meaning. The conflict can also be seen as a moral dilemma. This is seen in the man-versus-self psychological battle found within a self-contradictory human whose actions reveal noble and ignoble impulses. The man and the fish together can be considered to be a fraternal relationship. Santiago repeatedly calls the marlin his brother; therefore he falls into the role of his brother’s keeper. As the marlin’s killer, Santiago is Cain, who kills his own brother, Abel, in the Christian bible. Santiago exhibits the carcass of the mutilated marlin to prove his own capability to villagers who regarded him a luckless has-been. There is a contradiction in calling the fish his brother, yet wanting to kill, capture, and display the …show more content…
A fantasy gratifies or expresses a conscious or unconscious wish or anxiety. The wishes and anxieties are evident in the text’s portrayal of lengthy combat between a puny man and an oversized fish. Another example is his confrontation with a gigantic being, which is commonly found in frontier tall tales and fairytales. Also such exaggeration satisfies the conventional human’s wish to perform in larger-than-life ways in an encounter with a massive opponent or against seemingly impossible odds. The imaginative capacity of wonder, marvel, and awe is experienced through Santiago subduing an 18-foot marlin and lashing it to the side of a 16-foot boat. Santiago’s voyage, ordeal, and return replicate the traditional pattern of the hero’s journey-initiation-return cycle from epics and

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