Religious Symbolism in The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway Essay

Religious Symbolism in The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway Essay

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The incorporation of religion into literature is a common technique that adds significance to the overall meaning of any type of work. Ernest Hemingway, a passionate fisherman, successfully utilizes this technique in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novella, The Old Man and the Sea (Kinzer n. pag.). Considered one of his most famous and meaningful works, Hemingway’s novella details the journey of a poor but noble fisherman, Santiago, as he faces one of the greatest and most difficult struggles of his life. Throughout his telling of Santiago’s journey, Hemingway integrates a large amount of Christ symbolism that effectively portrays Santiago as Christ. Before his journey, Santiago’s master-disciple relationship with Manolin, his prior apprentice who has a strong faith in Santiago and his moral, and his past fishing experiences are introduced. During his voyage, Santiago spends three grueling days fighting to outsmart, dominate, and catch a giant marlin that he hooks. While on the sea and far away from home, Santiago’s physical and mental endurance are tested against the incredible strength of the marlin, but his determination ultimately helps him to catch the marlin and achieve a miraculous victory. Although several sharks ultimately eat the marlin, Santiago returns home a hero, and Manolin and his friend Pedrico vow to preach of Santiago’s values and his moral, mental, and physical greatness. Based on these events, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is an allegorical novel that depicts Santiago as a Christ figure before, during, and after his pursuit of the great marlin.
From the very beginning of the novella, Santiago is likened to Christ through his characteristics, experiences, and even his name, which is Spanish for ...


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...ions 13-20.
Harada, Keiichi. “Symbolism in The Old Man and the Sea.” Rpt. in Literary Companion Series 88-95.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1952. Print.
Kinzer, Stephen. “The Old Man Who Loved the Sea, and Papa.” New York Times. New York Times, 29 Jan 2002. Web. 23 Mar 2014. .
Stoltfuz, Ben. “Gide and Hemingway, Rebels Against God.” Exploring Novels. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Student Resources in Context. Web. 19 Mar 2014.
Szumski, Bonnie, ed. “Readings on The Old Man and the Sea.” San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Print. Literary Companion Series.
Waldmeir, Joseph. “Confiteor, Hominem: Ernest Hemingway’s Religion of Man.” Rpt. in Bloom Modern Critical Interpretations 27-33.
Wilson, G.R. “Incarnation and Redemption in The Old Man and the Sea.” Rpt. in Bloom Modern Critical Interpretations 119-123.

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