the old man and the sea
Answers 1Add Yours
The story's final event takes place in the afternoon when there are tourists on the Terrace. A female tourist sees the skeleton of the marlin moving in the tide. Not recognizing the skeleton, she asks the waiter what it is. He responds in broken English "eshark," thinking she wants to know what happened. She comments to her partner that she didn't know sharks had such beautiful tails. Meanwhile, back in Santiago's shack, the old man "was still sleeping on his face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The old man was dreaming about lions" (127).
The female tourist at the end of the book represents the feminine incapacity to appreciate Santiago's masculine quest. For her, the marlin skeleton, a phallic symbol, is just "garbage waiting to go out with the tide" (127). She does not speak the waiter and Santiago's language, and so is ignorant of the old man's great deeds. Her misunderstanding is simple enough, but the fact that she is the only actual female character in the novel and that this episode appears on the last page gives it added significance.