The Old Man and the Sea Part I Summary

     This novella by Ernest Hemingway features Santiago, an old man, and his friend, a young boy. The two of them love to fish, which Santiago tries to use as a way to survive, but unfortunately he often does not have very good luck. Therefore, he lives in a small shack with few possessions, no money, and barely any food. The boy loves Santiago and wants to help him be successful, but instead of going out on the boat with Santiago, after forty days without catching anything, the boy's parents make him go to a different boat where the boy successfully catches some fish. The boy, Manolin, continues to help Santiago carry home his supplies each night and even offers to share some bait with him.

     When they reach the home where Santiago lives alone, because his wife has passed away, they lie to each other by Santiago offering the boy food that he doesn't have or the boy offering to take care of the old man's net for him though they both know he doesn't own one. They discuss Joe DiMaggio and the Yankees, which they read about in the paper, which indicates that the story likely takes place in September some time in the 1940's. The boy tells the old man that he will run out to get some sardines.

     Upon his return the boy notices the old man has fallen asleep in his chair. He describes how his shirt, like his sail, has been pieced together from various pieces of cloth, and he has no shoes. The boy wakes him and announces that he has brought a meal of beans, rice, bananas, and beer. He tells the old man that Mr. Martin, the owner of the Terrace, gave it to him. The old man is very grateful for this generosity and reminds himself to try to repay Mr. Martin with a portion of the next fish he catches. The old man mentions that he would like to wash up before dinner, but the boy knows that clean water is only available two blocks away. He thinks about how he should bring the old man a small supply of water, along with some soap, a jacket, shoes, and a blanket.

     They eat and discuss the Brooklyn Dodgers and how Dick Sisler, a player who hits the ball hard, once came to their village. They discuss other players and which managers are best, and the boy mentions how the old man is the best fisherman. The boy then decided it was time for him to leave. After he left, the old man rolled up his pants and made them into a pillow then fell asleep on a pile of newspapers. The old man dreamed of living in Africa when he was a boy, which is almost all that he dreamed about these days.

     When he woke the next morning, he dressed and walked to the boy's house to wake him. Then the two returned to the old man's house to pick up his supplies. They brought them to the boat then got some coffee together. The boy got bait for them, then he walked the old man to his boat. The old man brought only a bottle of water, which is all he would ingest while out to sea. The man always thought of the sea as "la mer," which is a feminine foreign word to describe it. He loved the sea and referred to her affectionately in this way.

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