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


Then Santiago lies on the skiff to take some rest. He dreams himself in a boat while a couple of lying come on the shore and Santiago waits if more would come and they do come. But Santiago is pleased to see the lions. But suddenly the fish gave strong pulls and jumped up. Santiago got up for the final conflict with the fish. Santiago waits for the fish to start circling the boat and this would be it because "soon he (the fish) has to circle". Though Santiago is in deep pain yet he declares: "And pain does not matter to a man."

It was early morning when the fish began to circle the boat. On each circle the old man kept on rolling the wire onto his body so that the fish does not get far from him. The whole process continued for two hours till the old man was completely tired. Then the old man loosened the wire a bit so that the fish does not turn mad again pulls the cord so that the fish really comes close enough to be killed. "It was on the third turn that he saw the fish first". Santiago could not believe: the fish "can't be that big". And after a couple of circles the fish was close enough for the old man to kill it.

When Santiago was about to kill it, the fish swam away. Santiago uttered in deep agony: "Fish, you are going to have to die anyway." When the fish came near again, Santiago hit it with the harpoon and killed it. Santiago was dead tired and could hardly see clearly. Santiago ties the marlin along his boat and moves homeward. Santiago is very happy: "My head is not that clear. But I think the great DiMaggio would be proud of me today." Santiago could judge by the wind as to the coast. And now after the matter with fish was settled he needed something to eat and to drink.

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". The shark died but it "took about forty pounds" of meat and the harpoon too."

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. He argues with himself over the idea of sin. He considers it sin not to hope then it is also a sin to kill the fish and a lot more is sin but man does it. He asks himself: "Do not think about sin. It is much too late for that and there are people who are paid to do it."



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