The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway


Ernest Hemingway's classic novella The Old Man and the Sea is centered around an old
man, a Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who endures the menacing sea to catch a fish; a fish that
plagued his mind and undoubtedly became his heart's focus. Throughout his encounter with the
marlin, the old man faced various difficulties, difficulties of the mind that wrestled with his aged
body. As in the old man's struggle, Kid Rock explains in the lyrics to Only God Knows Why, of
the battles that evolve in the mind and heart that find the strength to go on. His song paralleled
Hemingway's novel by harnessing the listener and reader to understand that a man can be
destroyed but not defeated.
The novel begins with Santiago and a boy; a boy that becomes a son figure who brings
him strength. This young boy helps keep Santiago's spirits up when he has nothing, and even the
thought of him makes Santiago smile. Hemingway shows this when he writes that the old man is
out on the water for days, all alone, trying to catch the giant marlin. He continuously thinks of
the boy as the one who gets him through the hardest times, "The boy keeps me alive"
(Hemingway 106). The strength of Santiago through the boy happens to parallel a verse in the
song Only God Knows Why, "I watch my youngest son and it helps to pass the time. . ." (Rock
1). This holds true throughout the novel when Santiago thinks of the boy while he is out on his
skiff, tired and hungry; thoughts of the boy help to give him strength and "pass the time" (Rock
1).
Shortly after Santiago catches the fish, he realizes how far he has gone out, and how much
work it is going to take him to get home. He says, "I shouldn't have gone out so far"
(Hemingway 110). Again, a parallel can be made with another line from Only God Knows Why.
Rock sings, "It's been so long since I've been home, I've been gone, I've been gone for way too
long. ..." (Rock 1). Both of these passages express how far they are from home, admitting that
they both have gone out too far, and been away from home for too long.
At the end of the story, it is clear to the reader that the old man has been defeated, but not

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destroyed. He may have not obtained what he wanted but he will let nothing destroy him, he will
go on with his head held high. One of the many ways Hemingway shows the reader this is by
writing, "That was the last shark of the pack that came. There was nothing more for them to eat.
. . He [Santiago] knew he was beaten now finally and without remedy and he went back to the
stern and found the jagged end of the tiller would fit in the slot of the rudder well enough for him
to steer" (Hemingway 119). Santiago, after being defeated by the sharks, still goes on, he does
not give up on himself or his mission, he just continues on his journey home. This mental strength
has a direct relationship with yet another verse from Only God Knows Why when Rock sings,
"still I Anita seen mine, no I Anita seen mine, I've been given', just Anita getting'. . . So I think I'll
keep a'walkin' with my held held high, I'll keep movin'on (Rock 1). Both connect by expressing
the mental stability of rising in the face of defeat.
The parallels between Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea and Kid Rock's lyrics to his
song Only God Knows Why, exploits how in various works, the reader can grasp the same ideas
in different ways. With the boy as the strength, both Hemingway and Rock address how a boy
can assist in keeping focus and constantly remain to become a reminder of what is important in
life's journey. Also, the parallel of going too far from home and coming back with your head held
high signify the similarity between the two works. As in many great works of literature there are
ideas or symbols that can be woven with something else that can unfold the same but in a different
shape. These two artists of words, conveyed the same ideas but allowed us to see in different
ways how they can be revealed.

Artist: Kid Rock
Album: Devil Without A Cause
Title: Only God Knows Why


I've been sittin' here trying to find myself.
I get behind myself. I need to rewind myself.
Lookin' for the payback, listen for the playback.
They say that every man bleeds just like me.
And I feel like number one yet I'm last in line.
I watch my youngest son and it helps to pass the time.
I take too many pills. It helps to ease to pain.
I made a couple dollar bills but still I feel the same.
Everybody knows my name. They say it way out loud.
A lot of folks **** with me. It's hard to hang out in a crowd.
I guess that's the price you pay to be some bigshot like I am.
Outstretched hands and one-night stands, still I can't find love.
When your walls come tumbling down
I will always rebound.
And when your walls come tumbling down
I will always rebound.
People don't know about the things I say or do.
They don't understand about the **** that I've been through.
It's been so long since I've been home.
I've been gone, I've been gone for way too long.
Maybe I forgot all the things I miss.
Ohhh, somehow I know there's more to life than this.
I said it too many times and I still stand firm.
You get what you put in and people get what they deserve.
Still I ain't seen mine, no I ain't seen mine.
I've been givin', just ain't been gettin'.
I've been walkin' that there line.
So I think I'll keep a'walkin' with my head held high.
I'll keep movin' on if only God knows why.
Only God, only God, only God knows why.
Only God, ohhh, why why why.
Only God knows why.
Take me to the river, won't you take me to the river.

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