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Old Man and the Sea, The

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Joseph O'Connor Biography to Cynthia Ozick Biography

a short novel by Ernest Hemingway, published in 1952. This simple yet powerful tale of the endurance of a Cuban fisherman, Santiago, is also a parable of man's engagement with the natural world. Once accompanied by a young assistant with whom he discussed better days and baseball, Santiago is now aged and alone. After searching the Gulf Stream for marlin for 84 unsuccessful days, he finally hooks a giant marlin, with which he wrestles for two days and a night. Having at last secured the fish to his boat, he is robbed of his prize by marauding sharks which consume the marlin and reduce it to a skeleton as Santiago sails for home. Defeated but not humbled, he is found asleep in his hut, dreaming of the past, by the other fisherman who marvel at his catch.

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