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Important Quotes from The Old Man and the Sea

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/14/2012

Understanding these important quotes from The Old Man and the Sea will impress your friends and family.

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    The Old Man and the Sea Quotes with Analysis

    Enjoy these Old Man and the Sea quotes. Feel free to add your own analysis or share your favorite quotes from the Old Man and the Sea by clicking "comments" above.

    Quote: Then the fish came alive, with his death in him, and rose high out of the water showing all his great length and width and all his power and his beauty. He seemed to hang in the air above the old man in the skiff. Then he fell into the water with a crash that sent spray over the old man and over all of the skiff.

    Analysis: According to Hemingway, man was most alive when facing death. The true test of manhood was how one reacted to such occasions. In this case it is the marlin who triumphs despite the inevitability of his death. Because defeat (death) is inevitable, symbolized later by the arrival of the sharks and their devouring of the marlin, losing is acceptable. It is the struggle where individuals achieve glory.

    Quote: Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.

    Analysis: Santiago approaches death; he does not, however, willingly submit to it. He fights despite his age and despite his recent lack of success.

    Quote: Anyone can be a fisherman in May.

    Analysis: This short sentence carries a double meaning. Literally it refers to the ease of fishing in May. Symbolically, it represents fishing in the spring of life. Any young man has the strength and vitality to catch a fish, but it takes a true man to do so once old age has set in and fishing becomes a struggle.

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    More Old Man and the Sea Quotes with Analysis

    Enjoy these Old Man and the Sea quotes. Feel free to add your own analysis or share your favorite quotes from the Old Man and the Sea by clicking "comments" above.

    Quote: I wish I had the boy.

    Analysis: Santiago refers to his loyal friend Manolin who would have assisted him with his battle against the marlin. It may also symbolize Santiago's desire to be young again.

    Quote: My choice was to go there and find him beyond all people. Beyond all people in the world. Now we are joined together and have been since noon. And no one to help either of us.

    Analysis: Santiago is isolated. According to Hemingway it is only in isolation that man can achieve his true greatness.

    Quote: But I must have the confidence and I must be worthy of the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly even with the pain of the bone spur in his heel.

    Analysis: Santiago looks upon Dimaggio as the ultimate man and strives to be like him. For those of you who don't follow baseball, Joe Dimaggio was one of the greatest baseball players of all time, married Marylin Monroe, and did coffee commercials.

    Quote: Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.

    Analysis: If I did not know the origin of this quote, I would look on it as a parody on machismo. I can see it now, a dusty old (perhaps senile), partially blind man having an old west showdown with a giant fish wearing a two gun holster and a bandana over his head. The old man, having consumed a few too many shots of whisky, gets sentimental and expresses his true feelings for the fish, but realizes he must kill it. I digress.

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The Old Man and the Sea Study Guide

If you haven't gotten an 'A' in 84 days, you need to look at this study guide. Be careful. Sharks will devour it after one whiff.
  1. A Summary of The Old Man and the Sea
  2. Symbolism in The Old Man and the Sea
  3. Themes in The Old Man and the Sea
  4. Important Quotes from The Old Man and the Sea
  5. The Old Man and the Sea Analysis: Characters in The Old Man and the Sea

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