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REFERENCE THE CRITICS - CRITICAL ANALYSIS / OPINION

THE NOVEL AS A WHOLE

The last "novel" to be published during Hemingway's lifetime was The Old Man and the Sea, a work which Hemingway would identify as a new form. The precise generic classification is more or less inconsequential, although it is apparent that the work is a completely developed fable in the form of a very short novel.

Delbert E. Wylder, in Hemingway's Heroes.

The secret about the novel, Ernest explained, was that there wasn't any symbolism. Sea equaled sea, old man was old man, the boy was a boy, the marlin was itself, and the sharks were no better and no worse than other sharks.

Carlos Baker, Ernest Hemingway.

Indeed, the critical reception of the novel has emphasized this (metaphorical) aspect of it: in particular, Philip Young, Leo Gurko, and Carlos Baker have stressed the qualities of The Old Man and the Sea as allegory and parable.

Clinton S. Burhans, in Hemingway and His Critics.


SANTIAGO AS SAINT/SINNER

Before the old fisherman is himself identified by obvious allusion with the crucified Christ, he is identified with Cain and with the crucifiers of Christ.

Arvin P. Wells, in Twentieth Century Interpretations.

The protagonist of the book brings to full circle Hemingway's use of the mythic hero, for Santiago is again a hero with a different face. He is a modern adaptation of... the saint or ascetic.

Delbert E. Wylder, in Hemingway's Heroes.

SANTIAGO AS CHRIST FIGURE

One may wonder whether the Christ image is entirely appropriate. It would appear that it reinforces the thrust of the book of Christ as conceived in his human aspect only. The suffering Christ is consistent with Hemingway's tragic vision.

Samuel Shaw, in Ernest Hemingway.

Moreover, there are suggestions of Calvary... in the old man's struggling up the hill and falling under the weight of his mast, and further suggestions of the Crucifixion.

Carlos Baker, Ernest Hemingway.

SANTIAGO'S DREAM LIONS

The "lions on the beach" have been variously interpreted. The reader may permit himself the widest latitude without going wrong or doing violence to the words-a dream of adventure, of boundless energy and pride, of love for the universe, of the million bounties of life. It is a phrase whose general meaning is clear but in which each man may find something special for himself.

Samuel Shaw, in Ernest Hemingway.

A NEGATIVE VIEW

This hint that Hemingway may be padding his characterization of Santiago by means of fakery is abundantly confirmed by the action that follows. His combat with the fish is an ordeal that would do in even a vigorous young man.

Robert P. Weeks, in Twentieth Century Interpretations.

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