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Thread: Old Man and the Sea - What is the point of the christological imagery?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2011

    Old Man and the Sea - What is the point of the christological imagery?

    The christological symbolism in The Old Man and the Sea has been much written about - the wounds on the hands, the fish, Santiago carrying the mast of his skiff back to his shack and stumbling - so it seems Hemingway was trying to create a connection between Santiago and Christ or equate them or something, but I don't understand what point is being made with this connection.

    If the point is merely to say Santiago's ordeal was like that of Jesus, well, that much was clear on the literal level. Why bring in this Christ connection?

    Is he using Santiago to say something about Jesus? I don't understand what Hemingway is saying with this connection and why the connection was established at all.

  2. #2
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    Perhaps he was making a connection with fatalism?

    To accept pain and disappointment against adversity, despite giving it your best efforts.

    There is a lot of nonsense written sometimes about coming out stronger the other side. Not everyone does so.

    Its a long time since I read the book, so cannot remember the demeanour of Santiago at the conclusion. Was he not proud that he had successfully caught the marlin, despite the subsequent depredation's of the sharks? Likewise, Jesus having attained the initial successful mortal strike for subsequent Christianity, despite the attacks of the Pharisees and Romans?

    Hemingway never came across to me as a particularly religious type, unlike someone like Grahame Green. But he was into the concepts of: fear, courage and battle.

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