Christian Symbolism in the Old Man and the Sea

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The Old Man and the Sea may seem like a shallow book on its face level, but many extensive themes are evident throughout the book. Specifically, Christian Symbolism is apparent throughout. These are the themes displayed in my artwork, which shows Santiago as a Christ-Like figure. This is because he persevered through pain and suffering, and turned it into reward and victory, just how Jesus went through pain on the cross, but renewed his life and won. These themes are initially evident in the book during his struggle with the fish.

First, while the old man is fighting the marlin, his hands are cut by the fishing line. The cuts not only symbolize the wounds on Jesus’ hands while he was on the cross, but how he went through pain and suffering in his crucifixion. Santiago is a direct portrayal of Jesus and his suffering. The old man is willing to suffer and maybe even sacrifice his own life, just how Jesus was willing to do the same. Also during the fight, on page 107, Hemingway describes a noise Santiago has made, Just a noise such as a man might make, involuntarily, feeling the nail go through his hands and into the woods” (107). This is a direct association of Santiago and Jesus Christ. This quote relates to how Jesus’ hands were nailed to the cross, and a sound he might have made when nails were driven through his hands into the wood.

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Another example of Santiago being a Christ life figure is how he carried the mast of his ship up the hill and back home.

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