The Old Man And The Sea Symbolism Essay

Words: 491
Pages: 2

In How to Read Literature Like a Professor, by Thomas C. Foster, Foster claims, “If we want to figure out what a symbol might mean, we have to use a variety of tools on it: questions, experience, preexisting knowledge” (Foster 107). In Ernest Hemingway's, The Old Man and the Sea, the reader, by using these tools, can understand what a symbol might mean and why the author uses them. For example, the lions on the beach are a symbol of courage and help illustrate Hemingway’s theme, and the Marlin, that the old man caught, symbolizes a mirror image of the old man and illustrates the actual quest the old man takes.
In Hemingway’s, The Old Man and the Sea, the old man dreams about the lions on the beach three times, the first before his journey to sea, the second during his battle with the Marlin, and the third when he returns home after his journey. The fact that the dreams with the lions are reoccurring, indicates the lions are a symbol. Each time the old man dreams of the lions on the beach, he is in a desideratum for courage and strength. For example, when the old man returns home after being destroyed by his voyage, he, “was dreaming
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The old man describes the Marlin as a male and thinks that he is strange, “He is strange”(Hemingway 42),similar to the old man, “‘I am a strange old man’”(Hemingway 16). By using questions like, why is the Marlin so similar to the old man? can be answered by saying the Marlin is symbolized as the old man. Since the Marlin symbolizes the old man, the old man struggles with the Marlin is a symbol of the old man's struggles with himself. The old man struggles with finding his self-worth and strength within himself rather than the boy. Throughout his voyage, the old man continuously stated, “‘I wish I had the boy’”(Hemingway 44). This symbol helps to illustrate the old man's true quest rather than the stated