When the novel opens, how many days has it been since the old man last caught a fish?
84. Although the old man held a previous record of 87 days, at the novel's opening he has gone 84 days without catching a fish. In the first 40 the boy (Manolin) had been with him, but his parents had agreed that the old man was finally "salao," or the worst form of unlucky. They insisted that the boy sail with someone else.
Where had the old man gone in his youth that he dreamed about every night?
Africa. When he was young, the old man journeyed to the beaches of Africa and saw lions playing on the beach. Every night, instead of great fish or his long gone wife, he dreams of the lions on the beach.
What does the old man call the sea?
La mar. The old man calls the sea "la mar" because he likes to think of it as a woman that gives or withholds great favors.
The gigantic marlin that provides the main conflict for the novel is the first thing the old man catches. True or false?
f. The old man actually hooks a tuna before catching the big one.
What handicap does Joe DiMaggio, the old man's favorite baseball player and idol of sorts, suffer from?
Bone spurs. Bone spurs are short, painful bony growths from normal bone. The old man doesn't know what they are, but he figures that if "the Great DiMaggio" suffers through them then he can certainly handle this fish.
The old man becomes highly embarrassed and humiliated when his hand cramps. True or false?
t. The old man does not even mind being cut on the hand as much as he does his hand cramping. He curses his left hand and feels humiliated when it curls into a claw.
What type of sea creature does the old man catch (for food) that has flying fish in its belly?
A dolphin. Knowing he needs nutrition, the old man lowers another one of his lines and manages to catch a dolphin. Inside the dolphin's belly, the old man finds two flying fish.
As the conflict between the old man and the fish drags on, how does the old man view the fish?
As a brother. The old man clearly has great respect for nature, and views the fish as an equal and a brother, but that does not stop his determination to kill him.
To boost his confidence, the old man remembers a time back in his younger days when he had defeated a very strong man in an arm wrestling match that dragged on for a long time. A rematch was arranged, but why was the old man able to easily defeat him a second time?
He had broken the man's confidence. After defeating the man for the first time, the old man was referred to as "El Campion" or "the Champion." A rematch was arranged, but the old man had already broken the other man's confidence and had easily defeated him.
The first time the old man makes a promise to God, how many times does he vow to say both the "Our Father" and "Hail Mary" in order to kill the fish?
10. To ease his suffering and perhaps gain divine intercession, the old man promises to say ten "Our Father"s and ten "Hail Mary"s. The old man remarks that "Our Father"s are easier to say than "Hail Mary"s.
Who or what does the old man repeatedly wish were with him?
The boy. The old man constantly wishes that the boy were with him, especially when his trials get particularly tough or when he is just feeling lonely.
How does the old man kill the great marlin?
He harpoons it through the heart. The marlin begins to circle the old man's skiff, and when it gets close enough he harpoons it through the heart. The marlin makes one last dramatic jump and then dies.
To whom or what does the old man utter the curse "Bad luck to your mother?"
A shark. The old man sees the first of many sharks that attack the bleeding fish carcass. Knowing that bad times are coming, the old man curses the shark's mother then kills it.
What type of animal do tourists mistake the skeleton of the marlin for?
A shark. Two tourists see the skeleton of the marlin attached to the old man's skiff and mistake it for a shark's.
How does the novel end?
The old man dreaming about his favorite place. The novel fittingly ends with the old man dreaming about the lions in Africa