Q:

How does the sea function as a symbol in "The Old Man and the Sea?"

A:

Quick Answer

In "The Old Man and the Sea," the sea functions as a symbol of the entire natural world, isolation, loneliness and solitude. The sea is also a symbol for love, beauty, danger and cruelty. The sea is also a woman for the old man.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

The old man chooses to work with "her" by reading the signs of the ocean in order to determine the best place to fish.

His relationship with the sea is founded in respect, whereas the other, younger fisherman in the story looks to conquer the sea. The sea symbolizes a more masculine entity for the younger fisherman. The difference in their relationships with the sea is exaggerated through their language. The old man refers to the sea by its feminine name "la mar," while the younger fisherman uses its masculine name "el mar."

The sea as a symbol of isolation and solitude is reinforced by the change in the narrating style the author uses when the old man is at sea. The narrator tells the story from a third-person perspective when the old man is on land, and then changes to reveal to the reader what the old man is thinking when he is out at sea.

Learn more about Classics

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the theme of "Riders to the Sea"?

    A:

    The main theme of "Riders to the Sea" by John Millington Synge is the helpless strife of man against the unrelenting, inhuman cruelty of the sea. The author's inspiration was his stay in the Aran Islands on the west coast of Ireland.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do sea anemones live?

    A:

    Sea anemones are found clinging to sea ice at the poles, adorning coral reefs in the tropics and throughout the world's oceans. The vast majority of sea anemones are found in shallow waters, though scientists have identified species that live at depths of approximately 33,000 feet.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do sea turtles live?

    A:

    Sea turtles are known to live in every ocean basin in the world except in the polar regions. They can also be found on coastal regions and they migrate long distances in search of food.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some of the most famous fiction award-winning books?

    A:

    "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway and "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell are among the most famous books to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Each of these books has sold over 10 million copies. Hemingway also won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 for his work, including specific recognition for "The Old Man and The Sea."

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore