Study Guide - The Old Man and the Sea
Who is the author of this novel?
A: Ernest Hemingway
2. State the first line of the novel.
A: He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and
he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
3. What does “salao” mean?
A: Highest sort of unlucky.
4. Describe the old man.
A: Very old except for his eyes, has skin cancer and scares.
5. How old was the young boy when Santiago first took him on a boat?
6. Describe Santiago’s
A: Very humble
7. In what month do the great fish come?
8. Who would Santiago
like to take fishing?
9. Describe Santiago’s
A: Places; the African cost, and animals on the coast
10. Name at least 5 things that Santiago never dreams of.
Boy, his wife, storms, women, great occurrences, great fish, fights, contests of strength
11. What is the young boy’s
12. What does Santiago call
Why does Santiago see the ocean as feminine?
A: the moon affects her as it does a woman
14. How many baits has Santiago
set in the ocean?
15. Near page 32, describe Santiago’s
16. What is Santiago searching
for on (approximately) p. 32?
A: a big fish
17. Describe Santiago’s
feelings about turtles.
A: He likes them and thinks they’re interesting
How long has the fish been towing the boat out to sea?
A: since noon
19. Santiago thinks to
himself that no one should be alone...in what?
A: In old age; but he also says it is inevitable
20. What saddens Santiago when he catches
a female marlin?
A: That the male marlin stayed in hopes of seeing her again.
21. For whom does Santiago wish?
A: The boy
22. What does Santiago eat
to give him strength?
A: a fish (he calls all the fish tuna)
23. What is wrong with Santiago’s
A: He got a burn from the fishing line
24. Hemingway uses a simile to describe the clouds. What is
A: “It looked now as though he were moving into a great canyon of clouds and the wind
25. What physical ailment plagues DiMaggio?
A: bone spurs
26. At one time, why do people call Santiago
A: because he wins a tournament
27. Describe Santiago’s
A: He dreams of dolphins and then of the lions
28. On approximately page 92, there is an important
quotation. Fill in the blanks.
You are killing me fish, the old man thought. But you have a right to. Never have I
seen a greater or more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. Come on and kill
me. I do not care who kills you.
29. How does Santiago
kill the fish?
A: he harpoons him
30. How much does he think the fish weighs?
A: at least 150 pounds
31. How long until the first shark hits him?
A: An hour
32. What attracts the shark?
A: The blood from the Marlin.
33. Describe the Mako shark.
A: He “was built to swim fast … everything about him was beautiful except for his jaws.
His back was blue as a sword fish’s and his belly was silver and his hide was smooth and
handsome. He was built as a sword fish except for his huge jaws which were tight shut
34. How much does the first shark take? How does Santiago kill the first shark?
A: 40 pounds.
35. Santiago says, “But
a man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” What does this mean?
A: That a man can be completely and utterly ruined, but never defeated.
36. Santiago says he will fight the sharks
A: He is dead.
37. How does Santiago feel he violates
A: By him even killing the fish in the first place.
38. Why does the boy cry?
A: Because he cares very much for Santiago
and thinks that he was so close to having
good luck for a change.
39. What was the measurement of the fish?
A: eighteen feet from nose to tail
40. How does the novella end?
A: With Santiago dreaming of the African coast
Parts of Plot for “The Journey
of the Hero Archetype”
~ the ordinary world - Going to the
shore on the first morning of the holiday, the young English boy stopped at a turning of the path and looked down at a wild
and rocky bay, and then over to the crowded beach he knew so well from other years. His mother walked on in front of him,
carrying a bright-striped bag in one hand. Her other arm, swinging loose, was very white in the sun. The boy watched that
white, naked arm, and turned his eyes, which had a frown behind them, toward the bay and back again to his mother. When she
felt he was not with her, she swung around. "Oh, there you are, Jerry!" she said. She looked impatient, then
smiled. "Why, darling, would you rather not come with me? Would you rather-" She frowned, conscientiously
worrying over what amusements he might secretly be longing for which she had been too busy or too careless to imagine. He
was very familiar with that anxious, apologetic smile. Contrition sent him running after her. And yet, as he ran, he looked
back over his shoulder at the wild hay; and all morning, as he played on the safe beach, he was thinking of it.
~ Call to Adventure - On the edge of a small
cape that marked the side of the bay away from the promontory was a loose scatter of rocks. Above them, some boys were stripping
off their clothes. They came running, naked, down to the rocks. The English boy swam towards them, and kept his distance at
a stone's throw. They were of that coast, all of them burned smooth dark brown, and speaking a language he did not understand.
To be with them, of them, was a craving that filled his whole body. He swam a little closer; they turned and watched him with
narrowed, alert dark eyes. Then one smiled and waved. It was enough. In a minute, he had swum in and was on the rocks beside
them, smiling with a desperate, nervous supplication. They shouted cheerful greetings at him, and then, as he preserved his
nervous, uncomprehending smile, they understood that he was a foreigner strayed from his own beach, and they proceeded to
forget him. But he was happy. He was with them.
Refusal of the Call - He got his head in, found his shoulders jammed, moved them
in sidewise, and was inside as far as his waist. He could see nothing ahead. Something soft and clammy touched his mouth,
he saw a dark frond moving against the grayish rock, and panic filled him. He thought of octopuses, of clinging weed. He pushed
himself out backward and caught a glimpse, as he retreated, of a harmless tentacle of seaweed drifting in the mouth of the
tunnel. But it was enough. He reached the sunlight, swam to shore, and lay on the diving rock. He looked down into the blue
well of water. He knew he must find his way through that cave, or hole, or tunnel, and out the other side.
days before they were to leave - a day of triumph when he increased his count by fifteen - his nose bled so badly that he
turned dizzy and had to lie limply over the big rock like a bit of seaweed, watching the thick red blood flow on to the rock
and trickle slowly down to the sea. He was frightened. Supposing he turned dizzy in the tunnel? Supposing he died there,
trapped? Supposing - his head went around, in the hot sun, and he almost gave up. He thought he would return to the house
and lie down, and next summer, perhaps, when he had another year's growth in him - then he would go through the hole.
Aid - He came to the surface, swam to shore and went back to the villa to wait for
his mother. Soon she walked slowly up the path, swinging her striped bag, the flushed, naked arm dangling beside her. "I want
some swimming goggles," he panted, defiant and beseeching. She gave him a patient, inquisitive look as she said casually,
"Well, of course, darling.’ But
now, now, now! He must have them this minute, and no other time. He nagged and pestered until she
went with him to a shop. As soon as she had bought the goggles, he grabbed them from her hand as if she were going to claim
them for herself, and was off, running down the steep path to the bay. Jerry swam out to the big barrier rock, adjusted the
goggles, and dived. The impact of the water broke the rubber-enclosed vacuum, and the goggles came loose. He understood that
he must swim down to the base of the rock from the surface of the water. He fixed the goggles tight and firm, filled his lungs,
and floated, face down, on the water. Now he could see. It was as if he had eyes of a different kind - fish-eyes that showed
everything clear and delicate and wavering in the bright water.
got his head in, found his shoulders jammed, moved them in sidewise, and was inside as far as his waist. He could see nothing
ahead. Something soft and clammy touched his mouth, he saw a dark frond moving against the grayish rock, and panic filled
him. He thought of octopuses, of clinging weed. He pushed himself out backward and caught a glimpse, as he retreated, of a
harmless tentacle of seaweed drifting in the mouth of the tunnel. But it was enough. He reached the sunlight, swam to shore,
and lay on the diving rock. He looked down into the blue well of water. He knew he must find his way through that cave, or
hole, or tunnel, and out the other side.
First, he thought, he must learn to control his breathing. He let himself down into the water with another big stone in his
arms, so that he could lie effortlessly on the bottom of the sea. He counted. One, two, three. He
counted steadily. He could hear the movement of blood in his chest. Fifty-one, fifty-two . . . . His chest was hurting. He
let go of the rock and went up into the air. He saw that the sun was low. He rushed to the villa and found his mother at her
supper. She said only "Did you enjoy yourself?" and he said "Yes."
Transformation – All night, the boy dreamed of the water-filled cave in the rock, and as soon as breakfast
was over he went to the hay. That night, his nose bled badly. For hours he had been underwater, learning to hold his breath,
and now he felt weak and dizzy. His mother said, "I shouldn't overdo things, darling, if I were you." That day and the next,
Jerry exercised his lungs as if everything, the whole of his life, all that he would become, depended upon it. And again his
nose bled at night, and his mother insisted on his coming with her the next day. It was a torment to him to waste a day of
his careful self-training, but he stayed with her on that other beach, which now seemed a place for small children, a place
where his mother might lie safe in the sun. It was not his beach. He did not ask for permission, on the following day, to
go to his beach. He went, before his mother could consider the complicated rights and wrongs of the matter. A day's rest,
he discovered, had improved his count by ten. The big boys had made the passage while he counted a hundred and sixty. lie had been counting fast, in his fright. Probably now, if he tried, he could get through that long tunnel,
but he was not going to try yet. A curious, most un-childlike persistence, a controlled impatience,
made him wait. In the meantime, he lay underwater on the white sand, littered now by stones he had brought down from the upper
air, and studied the entrance to the tunnel. He knew every jut and corner of it, as far as it was possible to see. It was
as if he already felt its sharpness about his shoulders. He sat by the clock in the villa, when his mother was not near, and
checked his time. He was incredulous and then proud to find he could hold his breath without strain for two minutes. The words
"two minutes", authorized by the clock, brought the adventure that was so necessary to him close. In another four days, his
mother said casually one morning, they must go home. On the day before they left, he would do it. He would do it if it killed
him, he said defiantly to himself. But two days before they were to leave - a day of triumph when he increased his count by
fifteen - his nose bled so badly that he turned dizzy and had to lie limply over the big rock like a bit of seaweed, watching
the thick red blood flow on to the rock and trickle slowly down to the sea.
~ Apotheosis -
But even after he had made the decision, or thought he had, he found himself sitting
up on the rock and looking down into the water, and he knew that now, this moment when his nose had only just stopped bleeding,
when his head was still sore and throbbing - this was the moment when he would try. lf he did not
do it now, he never would. He was trembling with fear that he would not go, and he was trembling with horror at that long,
long tunnel under the rock, under the sea. Even in the open sunlight, the barrier rock seemed very wide and very heavy; tons
of rock pressed down on where he would go. If he died there, he would lie until one day - perhaps not before next year - those
big boys would swim into it and find it blocked.
~ The Ultimate
Boon - An immense, swelling pain filled his head, and then the darkness cracked with an
explosion of green light. His hands, groping forward, met nothing, and his feet, kicking back, propelled him out into the
open sea. He drifted to the surface, his face turned up to the air. He was gasping like a fish. He felt he would sink now
and drown; he could not swim the few feet back to the rock. Then he was clutching it and pulling himself up on it. He lay
face down, gasping. He could see nothing but a red-veined, clotted dark. His eyes must have burst, he thought; they were full
of blood. He tore off his goggles and a gout of blood went into the sea. His nose was bleeding, and
the blood had filled the goggles. He scooped up handfuls of water from the cool, salty sea, to splash on his face, and did
not know whether it was blood or salt water he tasted. After a time, his heart quieted, his eyes cleared, and he sat up. He
could see the local boys diving and playing half a mile away. He did not want them. He wanted nothing but to get back home
and lie down. In a short while, Jerry swam to shore and
climbed slowly up the path to the villa. He flung himself on his bed and slept, waking at the sound of feet on the path outside.
His mother was coming back. He rushed to the bathroom, thinking she must not see his face with bloodstains, or tearstains,
on it. He came out of the bathroom and met her as she walked into the villa, smiling, her eyes lighting up.
~ Refusal of the Return - In a short while, Jerry swam to shore and climbed slowly up the path to the villa. He flung himself on his
bed and slept, waking at the sound of feet on the path outside. His mother was coming back. He rushed to the bathroom, thinking
she must not see his face with bloodstains, or tearstains, on it. He came out of the bathroom and met her as she walked into
the villa, smiling, her eyes lighting up.
~ Freedom to Live
- They sat down to lunch together. "Mummy,"
he said, "I can stay under water for two minutes three minutes, at least." It came bursting out of him. "Can
you, darling?" she said. "Well, I shouldn't overdo it. I don't think you ought to swim any more today." She was
ready for a battle of wills, but he gave in at once. It was no longer of the least importance to go to the bay.