The Old Man and the Sea

A Different Outlook on Christian Symbolism in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea College

A Different Outlook on Christian Symbolism in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea

The ideas revolving around Christian symbolism in Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea have run rampant ever since the novella was first published in 1952 (Wilson 1). Since then, there has been plenty of time for these ideas to assimilate into concrete theories that readers widely accept. As noted in class, these theories are in direct correlation to Santiago’s battle at sea acting as a parallel to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. However, if this is true, then why did Hemingway write a letter to critic Bernard Berenson saying that “there isn’t any symbolism” in The Old Man and the Sea (Plath 67)? In his letter, written the same year that The Old Man and the Sea was published, Hemingway told Berenson “The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit” (“World of Quotations”). If what Hemingway states is true, that all of the symbolism in The Old Man and the Sea is, in fact, “shit,” then all of the Christian symbols that have been discerned are also “shit” (Plath 67). But are we to believe such a line? It would...

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