Detailed Summary:The Old Man And the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, Part IV


Then the fish rose on the surface of water. It was two feet longer than the skiff. Santiago is impressed by the size of the fish and decides to stay on with the fish no matter of might it is. Santiago's left hand has cramped and is not opening. He is praying that it does open before he is up with the fish for a fight. Santiago also prays to God for help and death of the fish. Santiago "did not know he was so big." He determines to "show him what a man can do and what a man endures." Santiago wishes to think of the lions but he cannot.

Santiago begins to compare himself and the fish and then he thinks if DiMaggio were him, had he stayed with the fish as long as he has stayed. Suddenly the hand match with the Negro, the strongest man on the docks, at Casablanca comes to his mind. They had held against one another a day and a night with their elbows on a chalked line on the table. They changed the referees every four hours. It was such a tough fight that blood came out of their finger nails. People were betting on them. The Negro was huge and dark. They looked at each other's arms and elbows.

People fed the Negro rum while he also smoked with the assistance of others. The Negro, after each pour of rum, "would try for a tremendous effort" but Santiago would keep it "dead even". And when everybody wanted a draw, he had defeated the Negro and after that he had defeated several others quite easily including the same Negro that stood against him for so long. He remembers that his left hand had been a "traitor" during trial hand matches whenever he tried it.

While waiting for the fish to tire out, Santiago hooked another fish to eat. He again talks to the fish challenging it: "I feel good and my left hand is better and I have food for a night and a day. Pull the boat, fish." Santiago praises the bravery of the fish and considers it a peer and a fried: "The fish is my friend too," he said aloud. "I have never seen or heard of such a fish. But I must kill him." But he also feels sorry for the great fish which is hungry and tired because of him.

Then Santiago thought of waiting for the fish to open its mouth for eating something because it has the bait in its jaws and its mouth is shut tightly. When the fish is tired, it shall open its mouth to eat. Then Santiago's real role would begin. The he got a couple of fish and ate them to his fill to regain his energy. He thinks of sleeping and taking rest but he cannot because he must not trust the marlin. He is a keen observer of weather and notices by looking at the sky that "here will be bad weather in three or four days".



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