Theme Of Isolation In The Old Man And The Sea

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Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway illustrates a lonely, aged man’s journey to catch the largest fish of his whole life. The old man, by the name of Santiago, is portrayed to have lost much of his meaning in life. His wife was dead, his “son like” character Manolin- who appears to be highly recognized by Santiago- is forced to not fish with Santiago, and his respect from other fishermen is lost as he hadn’t caught a fish for eighty-four days. Santiago’s loss of important relationships ultimately leads him to his isolation. Throughout his journey, the isolation serves to link Santiago with Hemingway’s Code Hero, which was a set of characteristics that seems to reflect most of Hemingway’s heroes in his stories. One particular code that …show more content…
From the first few pages of the novella, the reader is exposed to dispiriting details such as the unfortunate separation between Santiago and his closest companion which radiates the gloomy mood. Following the dejected mood, Hemingway continues on to describe Santiago and his sail. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat. The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck... But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert. Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated. (9-10)
The most prominent detail here is the fact that Santiago’s eyes were cheerful and undefeated despite his “flag of permanent defeat.” Metaphorically, the flag of permanent defeat is caused by Santiago’s isolation as Manolin is kept away from fishing with him and his wife leaves him, all of which results in Santiago ending up alone. However his eyes illustrates how his hopes were still high and that he was undefeated which depicts Santiago’s spirit of wanting to continue fishing and living his life. Despite having to be alone and facing the fact that he hadn’t caught a fish for a long period of time, Santiago still tests himself by fishing out at sea and having the motive to persevere
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The fishermen at the end appears to have gained respect and admiration for Santiago now that he has caught the 18 feet, huge marlin. They asked of Manolin to tell Santiago how sorry they were and were now doing favors for Santiago. Perhaps Hemingway is attempting to send off a message that just because an individual is old, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable to achieve greatness. In fact, even in Santiago’s case, he was an old fisherman, yet through his isolation he was able to test himself and achieve his goal of catching the marlin. Aside from this, Manolin was pictured as a loyal companion till the very end. While the other fishermen were at awe measuring the marlin, Manolin states, “I believe it” (123). In the beginning, readers weren’t evidently told why Manolin had such strong faith in Santiago. However as Hemingway takes the reader through Santiago’s journey and comprehends how Santiago conquered the problems he dealt, it is now clear to why Manolin was such a strong believer. Now as Santiago and Manolin are both inside Santiago’s shack, the reader is exposed to the last image given from the text. The wonderful image of a boy watching over the fisherman Santiago starts to dream about the

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