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On the eighty-fifth day he sails out to sea as usual, and this is the day that changes Santiago’s life forever.He hooks an unusually immense marlin, and they have an agonizing battle for several days.One way which Hemingway shows this is that Santiago refers to the sea as “la mar,” a kind and beautiful yet sometimes cruel feminine creature.
As the tourists who mistake the marlin for a shark still comprehend from its skeleton something of the great fish's grandeur, readers of different ages and levels of understanding can find something inspirational in this story — perhaps even more if they dip into its waters more than once.
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Certainly, The Old Man and the Sea fits that description.
The novella invites, even demands, reading on multiple levels.
A commonplace among literary authorities is that a work of truly great literature invites reading on multiple levels or re-reading at various stages in the reader's life.
At each of these readings, the enduring work presumably yields extended interpretations and expanded meanings.
Santiago is the great fisherman and Manolin his apprentice — both dedicated to fishing as a way of life that they were born to and a calling that is spiritually enriching and part of the organic whole of the natural world.
Santiago, as the greatest of such fishermen and the embodiment of their philosophy, becomes a solitary human representative to the natural world.
While Santiago is going out to sea on the first morning, Hemingway includes numerous details about the setting.
Some of the details are to inform the reader that the old man really enjoys and values the ocean.