Producing an Earnest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea Essay

84 days without a fish. Most people would have given up long before that. But not Santiago. He is a man filled with pride, determination and persistence – a man who will never accept defeat, no matter how much he is ridiculed by this fellow villagers.

This is a story of one man and a fish – two fixtures in nature that do battle, and, in doing battle, develop an amazing amount of respect for one another. But someone will have to win, and, ultimately, it is Santiago who then has to accept “defeat” as the sharks take his trophy. And he is not so upset about the sharks having taken all of the meat he could sell; it is that they destroyed the dignity of the majestic marlin he had come to honor and respect.

Looking for Topics for The Old Man and the Sea Essay

This novella can be read on many levels. Young teens who often read this in school see it as an adventure of an old man who simply wants to catch a fish and become respected in his village once more. In fact, many young teens state that they really do not like the book, because it becomes boring to them. They somehow want more “action.”

Older readers, however, come to understand that this is really not just a story about an old man and a fish. It is a study of the human condition – of man’s desire to achieve, to be respected, to have pride in what he does, and never to accept defeat. It is a tale of the perseverance within human nature to keep at it, no matter what the interim challenges and defeats may be. When the work is seen on this level, great topics for essays are then possible. Some of them are as follows:

  1. One of the themes of this work is that there is honor in the struggle alone, whether one is victorious or defeated. Apply this theme to events and circumstances today, perhaps Olympic athletes.
  2. How are the marlin and Santiago alike?
  3. The Old Man and the Sea characters number only three – Santiago, Manolin, and the marlin. What role does each play in the tale?
  4. Many see the conflict of this work as man v. nature; others see it as man vs. himself. Which do you think is correct? Why?
  5. Does Santiago’s pride cause victory or defeat?
  6. Discuss the religious symbolism in the work. How does Hemingway portray Santiago as a “Christ figure?”
  7. What is the significance of the dream about the lions on the beach?

The Old Man and the Sea is a classic in American literature. If you are still looking for a good topic for an essay, and none of the above appeal to you, get online and search for additional topics. There are a large number of suggestions from which you can choose.