Form of "The Old Man and The Sea"

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Form of "The Old Man and The Sea"

Post by Archer on Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:46 am

Whether a simple Narrative or an Allegory or a Fable or a Parable?

“The Old Man and the Sea” is all these together.

A narrative is a story or tale with events in an orderly fashion which the novels is.

An allegory is a story in which characters, actions and scenery are symbolic of different life situations. A second meaning can, thus, be read beneath the surface meaning of the story. The novel, in this sense, can be read as the struggle of brave, determined and steadfast human beings, represented or symbolized by Santiago, the Old Man, against the forces of Nature or society, represented by the marlin and the sharks. On the second level, the novel is a Christian or religious allegory in which Santiago represents Christ and his sufferings. Santiago’s struggle and suffering and possible death at the end was like Christ’s Crucifixion. The novel affirms the moral victory of Santiago's ideals, like that of Christ, over evil forces and physical obstacles. On the third level, it is an allegory of the artist’s struggle with his material tying to write at his best using his artistic skill in a perfect presentation like Santiago who was exercising his skill against all opposition and dangers to achieve his death. As Santiago was trying to control the marlin, he was trying to control his art.

A fable is a short story that exemplifies a moral principle and ideals of human behaviour. Often beasts appear like characters in a fable. Here, too, we have the marlin, birds, sea animals and sharks as characters in association with each other and with Santiago. The moral is that “a man can be destroyed but not defeated”, that is, physically he may be destroyed by opposition, time or age, but his high moral principles are always victorious.

A parable is a short narrative in which characters are usually human beings and which conveys a moral. The characters of “The Old Man and the Sea” in the village are al human beings most of whom laughed at or criticized Santiago. Manlin was symbolically his boyhood and youth in action. Santiago started from the village community and returned to it after the symbolic struggle with the marlin and fight with the sharks. The story conveys the lesion of struggle, at the cost of one’s body, health and life, to achieve the victory of one’s high ideals or aims or purposes:

“Death is no loss if the ideals are won.”
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