The Old Man And the Sea Short Summary

The Old Man And the Sea Short Summary: The novel is written by Ernest Hemingway and is all about valor and bravery and tragic downfall of the old man.

The Old Man And the Sea Short Summary

You may also like to read Detailed Summary in addition to the Old Man and the Sea Short Summary.

Santiago is an old fisherman that fishes alone in a skiff. He has “gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish”. There was a boy, Manolin that came to learn to fish, with him for first forty days but upon Santiago’s being unable to catch a fish, they ordered him to accompany another fisherman. The old man is thin with “wrinkles in the back of his neck”. His hands had deep scars of rolling cords. “Everything about him was old except his eyes”. Santiago has taught him to fish and “the boy loved him”. The boy wishes to be with the old man again but Santiago asks him to stay with the lucky boat.

The Old Man And the Sea Short Summary: Santiago, “a salao”, is a veteran fisherman. He has been without a fish for eighty for days. He goes “far out” into the deep sea on the eighty fifth day. After hooking a big marlin, he fights valiantly for 48 hours to kill it. The fish tows the boats and tests his mettle. Santiago challenges the fish: “Fish, I will stay with you until I am alive”. His left hand cramps, his body bleeds and he has to feed on raw fish to survive but he does not give in. He eventually kills the marlin. He ties it to his boat and sails homeward.

The old man is happy to have hooked a big marlin but he know that he has made a big mistake by entering the deep sea. While Santiago was happily sailing home, a Mako shark was in pursuit of the big marlin. It came following the blood of marlin and its smell. It “was built as a sword fish except for his huge jaws which were tight shut now as he swam fast”. Its teeth “were shaped like a man’s fingers” with “razor-sharp cutting edges”. Santiago soon observed the shark coming. He prepared his harpoon and got ready. When the shark hit the marlin and began eating it, Santiago “rammed the harpoon down onto the shark’s head”.

Here Santiago knows that “bad time is coming” and he encourages himself: “But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Santiago thinks of DiMaggio: “I wonder how the great DiMaggio would have liked the way I hit him in the brain”. Old man does not want to lose hope: “It is silly not to hope”. Therefore, he looks at the front part of the fish which is not mutilated by the shark.

Santiago admits his fault of having gone far out: “I am sorry that I went too far out. I ruined us both. But we have killed many sharks, you and I, and ruined many others.” Santiago talks to himself of fighting the sharks at midnight “I’ll fight them until I die.” When there is a sound from within that he might have some luck, he utters “I’d like to buy some if there’s any place they sell it”. He clubbed at heads and heard the jaws chop. Finally he reached the harbor and nobody was there to help. He lay there for some time. Then he reached his hut and slept there.

Read More to the The Old Man and the Sea Short Summary

  1. The Old Man and the Sea Complete Study Notes
  2. The Old Man and The Sea As Tragedy
  3. Character of Santiago
  4. Manolin Character
  5. Importance of DiMaggio
  6. Hand Match with Negro
  7. Santiago’s fight with Marlin
  8. Santiago’s fight with Sharks
  9. Symbolism in The Old Man and the Sea
  10. Detailed Summary The Old Man and the Sea Part One
  11. Detailed Summary The Old Man and the Sea Part Two
  12. Detailed Summary The Old Man and the Sea Part Three


Further Reading & References:

  1. Original Text of The Old Man and The Sea
  2. The Movie The Old Man and the Sea

Leave a Reply