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Old Man By The Sea Essay, Research Paper


“The great DiMaggio is himself again!”(21), in Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea, which takes place near Havana, Cuba in the Caribbean Sea, a very old, unlucky, fisherman sets out for the big catch. The great DiMaggio is seamed throughout the novel to symbolize the old man and his struggle to catch the big fish, yet also he poses as a role model for Santiago (the old man). The old man is using the great DiMaggio for a role model. At a certain point in the struggle to catch this great fish, the old man begins to cramp up in his left hand, do to the fish pulling so strenuously on the line. Where as the great DiMaggio (during this time) is struggling with a bone spurn his ankle, yet still continues to play baseball, and plays well. The old man looks at DiMaggio as a role model in the sense that if DiMaggio can play with a bone spur in his ankle and tough things out, then he will work around his cramp and continue to fight the fish, as would the great DiMaggio. This is what the old man thought, “Do you believe the great DiMaggio would stay with a fish as long as I will stay with this one? I am sure he would and more since he young and strong. Also his father was a fisherman. But would the bone spur hurt him too much?”(68).

“But I must have confidence and I must be worthy of the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly, even with a bone spur in his heel”(68), this particular quote from the old man shows that the image of Joe DiMaggio works in fulfilling its role in the old man’s challenge of catching the fish. When thinking of the great DiMaggio, the old man remembers to give himself more confidence, and in doing so thinks back to his younger years when he was referred to as the champion because of an arm wrestling match. This gave the old man more strength and will to push on and fight the fish until he wins. Also this image of DiMaggio reminds him he must be very strategical, and do everything right, despite any cramps in his hand.

There is hard evidence that shows that DiMaggio symbolizes the old man. Previously Joe DiMaggio had been struggling in his profession of baseball, due to a bone spur in his heel. The whole team struggled because DiMaggio was the main hope to the Yankee’s team. Now in the case of the old man, who had previously struggled to catch a fish because of his newly developed unluckiness, struggles in his life because he has not caught a fish and in turn, has no money to buy the necessities for life. Well as soon as DiMaggio picked up his game and started to play at a whole new level, the old man hooked into a great big marlin, and started a fight that would change his life. Not to mention the fact that DiMaggio played outstanding even though he suffered from a bone spur in his heel. As did the old man out struggle and out think the fish even though he suffered from a temporary cramp in his left hand. All of this shows how DiMaggio “is” the old man “The great DiMaggio is himself again”(21).

In conclusion to Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea, the great DiMaggio is most definitely a symbol of the old man himself, and his struggle to catch a fish. Also DiMaggio poses as a role model for the old man. Within this paper there were great facts from the novel to prove that my thesis is indeed strong, and something to think about. But one could ask himself, “Is it possible to take a model figure, such as the great DiMaggio, and use him in such a way to give yourself courage, confidence, and strength to succeed in your goals?” The old man would tell you so, and so would I!

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