the old man and the sea is a metaphor. what does this statement means making a reference to the story.
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There is so much in this story, much has to do with Christian themes.
Christ figure- This image of Santiago's bleeding hand, in conjunction with his suffering at sea, recalls the image of Jesus Christ's hand bloodied by the nails used to crucify him. Appropriately, it is only when the boy "saw the old man's hands" that he starts to cry.
Santiago's Mast: Christian imagery returns near the end of the novel when Santiago shoulders his mast after returning, and climbs towards his shack. It was only then that "he knew the depth of his tiredness" (121). As the old man stumbles home he falls, and finds the mast on his back too heavy to rise with. The imagery of Christ carrying his cross continues as Santiago "put the mast down and stood up. He picked the mast up and put it on his shoulder and started up the road. He had to sit down five times before he reached his shack" (121). Even after his three days of suffering the old man dutifully carries his burden on his back, Christ-like, before falling into a well-deserved sleep.
These are just two. I took these from a specific site that goes into greater detail on this. I will list it in my source link below.