Exam Metacognition

The Old Man and the Sea Literary Analysis

    Isolation forces you to find out what you value most. The Old Man And the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway demonstrates how isolation affected The Old Man while wrangling the giant fish. The Old Man has caught no fish for eighty-seven days and for a long time the old man had a young boy with him as an apprentice, but because of the old man’s luck the young boy’s parents made the boy leave and go to another boat. That young boy was the only constant contact the old man had with people while fishing. But when the boy left to go to another boat, a dark wave of isolationism overwhelmed the old man.

    The book opens as the narrator describes the old man as a lonely person, who is an introvert. He was not lonely when the boy was with him but, when the boy left he became lonely.      

“In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy's parents had told him that The Old Man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week (day 1 page 1)

The narrator talks about the old man, he explicitly mentions how he is an old man who fishes alone. “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream”. He used to be with the boy, but when he did not catch anything the boy's parents moved him to a different boat. Since this happened Santiago has been fishing alone. When The boy left, The Old Man’s isolation grew, because he would be on the boat for hours catching nothing, alone. 

    The Old Man has been at sea for two days with no food and one bottle of water, he only brought what he needed in his boat. Because he had been alone at sea with no one he started to talk to himself.

“If the others heard me talking out loud they would think that I am crazy," he said aloud. "But since I am not crazy, I do not care. And the rich have radios to talk to them in their boats and to bring them the baseball” (day 2, page 35) 

The Old Man was so isolated from other people on the boat he would start to talk to himself. He also explicitly mentions how people heard him talking to himself; they would think he was crazy, but he defends himself by saying that he is not crazy. If the boy was with him then he would not have been as isolated as he was, and he would have not started talking to himself. The boy leaving affected the Old man more than he really thought. “I wish I had the boy, '' the old man said aloud”. The Old Man thought that the boy leaving did not affect him but in reality it caused changes to the old man like talking to himself.

    The Old Man had just arrived from fishing, when Manolin came to greet him. They were walking back carrying the lines and sails from the Old Man’s boat. They walked up to The Old Man’s shack and put down all of his gear from the boat. The narrator then started describing his single room shack. In his shack, in the corner there was an old picture of his wife, but he would shove it under a clean shirt.

“Once there had been a tinted photograph of his wife on the wall but he had taken it down because it made him too lonely to see it and it was on the shelf in the corner under his clean shirt” (page 11).

The Old Man really enjoyed being with the boy, but when the boy had to go to another boat because of The Old Man’s bad luck he became lonely. Before the boy, the Old Man had his wife so he was not lonely. But once his wife died, he had nobody, he was isolated from everyone. “These were relics of his wife”. But once the boy came along the boy melted the ice that was the Old Man’s isolation.

    The Old Man headed out for another monotonous day of catching no fish, but then he hooked a large fish. The fish was taking the boat away from “The glow of Havana” . The Old Man was working hard managing all of the lines, the fish was pulling the boat steadily, but during this time The Old Man was not able to think about much except for the fish and lines. Once he sat down to eat the tuna, he was able to start thinking about his isolation. When he was resting he said to himself

“No one should be alone in their old age, he thought. But it is unavoidable. I must remember to eat the tuna before he spoils in order to keep strong. Remember, no matter how little you want to, that you must eat him in the morning. Remember, he said to himself.” (35)

This relates to isolationism because the Old Man acknowledges that he is isolated from other people. He also acknowledges that he shouldn’t be this isolated from people, but because of his profession and rarely catching fish, he can not do anything about being so isolated.

How does one avoid inevitable solitude


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