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Word Count: 479
The Old Man and the Sea is a simple story so simply and precisely told that it invites the reader to fish for symbolism We feel something more must be at work here then the surface plot The text does seem to offer hints and clues and critics have taken these tips and developed rather different readings of the story The huge list of Christian reference in The Old Man and the Sea is unavoidable The question is whether it amounts to anything that makes sense A fish first of all has always been a symbol of Christ Christ found St James fishing in the Sea of Galilee and promised to make him a fisher of men James was in a boat James in Spanish is Santiago The old mans journey out beyond all others lasts three days the interval between the death and resurrection of Christ A great focus of the novel is the old mans bloody hands a crucifixion image The old mans stumbling climb to his shack carrying the mast on his shoulders is a reference to Christs climb up Cavalry with the cross on his back When the old man reaches his shack Hemingway takes the pains to describe the old mans sleeping position he sleeps face down with his arms out palms up a crucified pose The boy seeing him like this with his beat-up hands cannot stop cryingIn another way you can look at The Old Man and the Sea as religious symbolism but for an unorthodox religion Reading the book in this way expresses Hemingways Religion of Man It is a religion of action of achieving and maintaining Manhood If anything counts in this world it is how someone does whatever it is someone does This is especially true of life-and-death situations involving lonesome individuals One must kill to live and one must die and these actions have no otherworldly importance Their meaning resides in how they are
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