The Old Man and the Sea Themes & Topics

This Study Guide consists of approximately 65 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Old Man and the Sea.
This section contains 376 words
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The novel's best-known and oft-quoted line sums up its most important themes: "A man can be destroyed but not defeated." At the beginning of the story, Santiago has gone eighty-four days without catching a fish, but his sea-colored eyes remain "cheerful and undefeated." Variations on the theme of being undefeated abound, and point beyond mere physical endurance to a quality of the human spirit which endures and prevails in spite of suffering and loss. Hemingway's theme has the broadest possible application to general experience, suggesting that although a person may be stripped of everything in the process of living, may lose every thing and everyone, nevertheless a quest conducted with skill, courage, endurance, honor, and compassion can guarantee the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. Hemingway avoids the sentimental happy ending which would have Santiago bring home the great fish intact and sell it at market for a...

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This section contains 376 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Old Man and the Sea Study Guide
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Novels for Students
The Old Man and the Sea from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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