The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway: Youth vs. Old Age

Topics: Old age, Middle age, Gerontology Pages: 2 (828 words) Published: May 17, 2004
At some point as children, we always wish we were big. It seems customary for children to want to hang out with the "big kids", most likely because they are smarter or more experienced. It's said that with age comes wisdom, and that's probably why kids often look to their parents, teachers, or older siblings for advice, rather than their peers. Although children are always looking to their elders, at the same time, adults often look to children to regain their youth. For some reason, adults fear getting old, so they find spending time with younger people makes the feel young and lively again. In Ernest Hemingway's novel The Old Man and the Sea, the author uses the elderly man, Santiago, to represent old age, and he uses the boy, Manolin, to represent the aspect of youth in the story. The contrast between these two characters illustrates this idea of wisdom coming with age and elderly yearning for youth.

Old age is represented in this story by Santiago. He is a very old man who has been fishing for most of his life. He has been fishing for so long that he knows many of the ways and techniques to being a good fisherman. He is a very skilled fisherman, and he has a philosophy about how one fishes is how they live. He being old lives a very simple life and also fishes in a very simple way. He can survive on so little and he doesn't eat much, but he is still satisfied. He is the experienced, wise one in the relationship of him and Manolin, so he is helping the boy learn to fish, which allows Manolin to look up to him. "The old man had taught the boy to fish, and the boy loved him. (p.10)" Although he is so talented and knowledgeable when it comes to fishing though, his old age has weakened him physically. This prevents him from being the great fisherman that he probably was in the past. He struggles a lot throughout the book with his lack of physical strength, and in the scene where he first catches the fish and he is trying to hold the line, the narrator says,...
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