«The Old Man and the Sea» was created by Hemingway in 1951. In this novel the writer tried to convey all his experience in life and literature. Hemingway has created the story for a long time, writing painstakingly every part, every thought and watch of his, in many respects, lyrical hero. Then he shared his ideas with his wife Mary, and when she felt tingles down her spine he realized how good his work was. As the writer recognized, the novel «The Old Man and the Sea» could be a big novel, with a variety of characters (mostly fishermen) and plotlines. However, all this has already been in the literature. But Hemingway wanted to create something different: a novel-parable, a novel-symbol, a novel-life.
An artistic idea «The Old Man and the Sea» is closely connected with the 103 Psalm of David, praising God as the Creator of heaven and earth and all the creatures that live on our planet. Biblical reminiscence are shown in the novel and characters of the main characters (the boy is named Manolin — tender abridgement of Emmanuel, one of the names of Jesus Christ; the name of the old man is Santiago — just as St. Jacob, and Jacob of the Old Testament, who threw down the challenge to God), and in the thoughts of the old man about life, about human, sins, and in the reading of basic Christian prayers — «Our Father» and «Mother of God».
Problems of the novel show the inwardness of human and his ability not only to realize the beauty and grandeur of the world, but also his place in it.Huge ocean, in which goes the old man, is a symbol of our tangible world and the spiritual life of human.Huge fish, which a fisherman is fighting, has a dual symbolic character: on the one hand — this is a collective character of all fish, caught by Santiago, the image of business, destined by God for him, on the other — is the character of the Creator, who lives in each of his creation, who died for the people, risen and living in the hearts of believers.
The old man thinks that he is far from religion, but at a difficult time of fishing he reads prayers and promises to read more, if the Blessed Virgin makes the fish die. Santiago’s thoughts about the life are simple and unsophisticated. He really looks like old exhausted satisfied with little — simple food, poor hut, a bed, covered by newspapers.
Day after day, exhausting big fish in the ocean, the old man does not think how he feels pain or difficulty from twines, cutting his arms and back. No. He tries to save his strength for the decisive battle. He fishes tuna and flying fish in the sea and eats them raw, even in the absence of hunger. He forces himself to sleep to muster the strength. He uses everything available to fight with the sharks, attempting to the fish. And he speaks, evaluates, and remembers. All the time. Including with fish — alive and dead.
When from the sea beauty stays only mutilated carcass, the old man become ill at ease. He does not know how to behave with the fish. Killed one of the most beautiful creatures of this world, Santiago justifies his action so that the fish will satisfy him and other people. Prey, tattered by sharks, lost this simple, everyday sense. The old man apologizes to the fish, because everything turns out so bad.
In contrast to many classic literary works «Old Man and the Sea» does not have criticism whatsoever. Hemingway does not feel right to judge others. The main purpose of the writer — to show how the world works, in which the fisherman is born as fisherman and fish — as fish. They are not enemies for each other — they are friends, but the purport of life of the fisherman is the killing of fish, and on the other hand, alas, it does not work.
Every time, when the old man bumps into marine life, he shows himself as a loving man, who feels pity and respects every creature of God. He worries about the birds, for which it is hard to get food, enjoys loving games of guinea pigs, feels pity for Marlene, who lost his girlfriend through his fault. The old man treats to a large fish with a deep sense of respect. He recognizes the worthy opponent in it, which can win the decisive battle.
The old man meets his failures with truly Christian humility. He does not complain, does not grumble, he quietly does his work and when he is attacked by a small talkativeness, just ordered himself to come back to reality and do his work. Lost his fish in an unequal battle with the sharks, the old man feels beaten, but this feeling fills his soul with incredible easiness.
— Who has beaten you, old man? — he asks himself and then gives the answer. — None. I have just gone too far in the sea. In these simple thoughts there is unbending wish and a real living wisdom of a man, who has known all the immensity of the world and his place in it, though the small place but honourable.