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What is an example of a metaphor in "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway?

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Quick Answer

A metaphor in “The Old Man in the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway is the parallel between the fisherman Santiago’s hands and the wounds of Jesus Christ. During the story, the fisherman cuts his hands while struggling to subdue a marlin. The pain and suffering he endures is a metaphor for the pain and suffering Christ experiences from the nails driven through his hands.

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The short novel by Hemingway won a Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and is considered to be one of the best literary works of all time. When Hemingway finished the novella, he immediately informed his publisher that it was the best writing of his career. The main character in the novella, Santiago, is modeled after Hemingway’s first mate on his private boat. The author held a marlin fishing contest each year after the novella was published. Fidel Castro won the contest in 1960.

Hemingway himself may have known a bit about Santiago's suffering. The author died of a self-inflicted wound in 1961. Throughout his life, Hemingway struggled significantly with depression. In the early 1950s, Hemingway was involved in a plane crash. The consequent injuries caused him to feel more depressed. There have been five suicides in the Hemingway family, including his father and his granddaughter, actress Margaux Hemingway.

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