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CHAPTER - III

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA

A reading of The Old Man and the Sea (The Old Man) offers the reader
a predominant experience of Santa rasa (a relish of quietism). Here
Hemingway tells the story of an old man who achieves an intellectual state
cf nirveda (renunciation or indifference) after attempting the impossible
through sheer mati (resolve) in a heroic fashion. The rasa pattern is clearer
in this novel than in the other two already discussed. The novel’s prabandha
(construction) itself, with no distracting subplot, no diverting episode, and no
redundant minor character, achieves a compactness all its own; and there is
no display of a single discordant emotion in the narrative. The reader’s relish
of Santa rasa, therefore, is complete and pure.

Literally, santa means tranquility, the sentiment of quietism, the


predominant feeling of which is indifference to worldly objects and pleasures,
or freedom from passions. While Abhinavagupta and Dhananjaya consider
sama (a feeling of calmness, of being quelled or subdued), Mammata considers
nirveda (renunciation) as the sthavibhava (dominant emotion) of Santa.
Abhinavagupta, of course, considers mati (resolve), smrti (memory) and dhrti
(contentment) to be its vvabhicaribhavas (temporary emotions). Interestingly,
all these are at work in Santiago’s actions.
Ill

Among all the rasa theorists, Bhavabhuti takes the extreme view that
rasa is one and that is Karuna (pathos or pity). There is no place for any
other principal emotion in a world where the order of things is irreversible,
apathetic to human affections and without response to man’s deeper
sympathies. Other emotions and rasa experiences rise and fall like waves
and bubbles on the surface of water, but the real substratum is the pathetic.

It will be seen that The Old Man incorporates these apparently divergent
interpretations of Rasa theory at least partly, if not entirely. Those who see
the work as a tragedy believe it to be “the culminating experience of the
relation between individualism and interdependence in its reflection of
Hemingway’s tragic irony of fate” (Burhans 1962 : 152) - a view that testifies
Bhavabhuti’s. When Santiago resigns himself to the onslaught of sharks, he
tries not to look at his catch nor think of it anymore. An air of nirveda
(indifference) engulfs him along with srama (weariness); and the reader’s
first impulse is to feel pity for him. In fact, the very opening paragraph of
the work foregrounds this view:

He was an old man who fished alone . . . and he had gone eighty
four days now without talking a fish. . . . the old man was now
definitely and finally salao. which is the worst form of unlucky. .
. . It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with
his skiff empty . . . (the sail) looked like the flag of permanent
defeat, (emphasis added 5)

Nevertheless, it would be too simplistic to approach The Old Man with


such a vision of pessimism as Bhavabhuti’s, because the entire driving force
of Santiago’s fight and loss, ‘being and non-being’, conscious and unconscious
is nothing but resolve, which goads him to live alone, fish alone and, possibly,
to face death alone. All his anubhavas (effects), abhinava (action) and even
his sattvikabhavas (in-built body responses) confirm his life-long dedication
to the profession of fishing for which he was “born”.
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Hemingway presents the nowAsalao’ Santiago with perfect aharva (dress


and appearance) in the very second paragraph:

The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back
of his neck. The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the
sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea was on his cheeks.
The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had
the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But
none of the scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a
fishless desert.

Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were
the same colour as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.(5-6)

In spite of the implied dhvani (suggestiveness) in “fishless desert”, the


“cheerful and undefeated” eyes are a perfect indication of the old man’s
determination. Later, when the boy comes back with food, he notices the
sleeping Santiago who has “strange shoulders”, strong neck, a faded and
patched shirt like the sail, shoeless feet and closed eyes as if “there was no
life in his face”. More than Frederic’s or Robert Jordan’s, Santiago’s aharva
is painted with the meticulous detail of a fastidious playwright (as needed
by Bharata). Very affectionately does little Manolin think of giving him a
soap, a good towel, “another shirt and jacket for the winter and some sort of
shoes and another blanket” (17).

The narration of Santiago’s aharva is not mere statement. It suggests


his ‘presentness of the past and pastness of the present’ - his life-long
struggle on the sea, his failures and successes, his geniality and compassion,
in spite of his luckless lonely heart. The old man’s shack is described with
equal care:

The shack was made of the tough bud-shields of the royal palm .
. . and in it there was a bed, a table, a chair, and a place on the
dirt floor to cook with charcoal. On the brown walls . . ., there was
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a picture in colour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and another of the


Virgin of Cobre. These were the relics of his wife. Once there had
been a tinted photograph of his wife on the wall but he had taken
it down because it made him too lonely to see it and it was on the
shelf in the corner under his clean shirt. (12)

This small description is enough to establish a bond between the old


man and the reader who knows that Santiago is content with whatever he
is. He does not seem to bear any grudge against anybody. Life has taught
him to maintain dhrti (contentment) with himself.

This dhrti shapes Santiago’s karvarupa (effects), his attitude and modes
of behaviour. While some of the fishermen make fun of the old man and some
other older fishermen feel sad for him, Santiago never gets angry. He has
allowed the five-year-old Manolin to carry the fishing gear, while others do
not. Santiago appears to have no enemies, so that “no local people would
steal from him”. The old man does not even want to borrow anything from
anyone because, as he says, “First you borrow, then you beg”. He does not
blame Manolin’s father for sending the boy in another boat. His characteristic
“humility”, which was not “disgraceful” and “carried no loss of true pride”,
might possibly have grown from his long loneliness, and is manifest in his
conversation with Manolin when he says, “Thank you”, or "I must thank
Martin” or “That’s very kind of you”.

Santiago’s contented attitude is reflected in his interaction not only


with the human society on land, but also with life at sea. “He always thought
of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love
her” (26). The old-timer Santiago is unlike the modern, rich younger fishermen
who have motor boats and speak of the sea as el mar which is masculine.
“They spoke of her as a contestant or a place or even an enemy. But the old
man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld
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great favours ...” Even after eighty-four days’ lucklessness, Santiago does
not flinch from his life-long love for the sea - the great giver of favours.

In his utter humility, he pities the flying fish, the warbler, the small
delicate dark terns and sea-swallows with their small sad voices to whom the
sea can be so cruel. But he swears at the Portuguese man-of-war with its
long deadly purple filaments which the turtles eat. He loves “the green turtles
and hawk-bills with their elegance and speed and their great value”, but has
“a friendly contempt for the huge, stupid logger-heads, yellow in their armour-
plaiting, strange in their love-making” (34). Though he eats turtle eggs for
strength, he feels genuinely sorry when turtles are butchered because “the
turtle’s heart will beat for hours after he has been cut up”.

On the whole, Santiago loves the sea, the sun, the moon and the stars
who are “like our brothers” and life on the land around him. In comparison,
his grudges are small and justified. This self-dhrti (contentment) supports
his lonely and now-luckless living and energizes him to fight for survival on
his own.

Technically speaking, Santiago’s innate frame of mind reverberates with


prasada (calmness, serenity, sedateness) which “shows the total absence of
raga (anger) and dvesa (hatred)”. As Raghavan points out, prasada is the
nearest approach to santa rasa and hence, it is its guna (quality), but not
sama (weariness) which is the transparence of the inner mind tarnished with
worldly dust (1975 : 60). We never find for once Santiago’s mind consciously
tarnished, which is why he is able to maintain a stoic balance in life, full of
contentment and without anger or hatred. As a literary style, prasada
(perspicuity, clarity) is a quality of santa (as madhurva or sweetness is that
of karuna or pathos).

In its extreme form, however, “Santa is the rasa of sama. the realisation
of self”. Raghavan clarifies that in such cases
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the whole work may be its uddipana-vibhava [excitant] especially


pilgrimage, resort to solitude, company of the good etc. Its alambana-
vibhava [context] is, in cases where it is oriented to devotion, a
personal god, .... (1975 : 50)

The Old Man need not be viewed as offering this extreme form of santa
rasa, written as it is in the twentieth century. Its uddipana vibhava is not
‘the whole world’, but a vast ocean where the old man goes on a daily
“pilgrimage”of fishing - the only profession he was born for. While fishing,
he resorts to “solitude” and, as we have already seen, he loves to be and is
in the “company of the good” Manolin. The alambana-vibhava here is his
“devotion” to fishing (what with Santiago’s inexhaustible treasure of fishing-
knowledge), a huge marlin (not any “personal god”), brother-like, strong,
beautiful, calm and noble.

While Santiago’s contentment has shaped his bent of mind and internal
make up, his mati (resolve) vivifies his external life-force. Beginning from the
afternoon of the eighty-fourth day till he fights the last sharks on the eighty-
seventh evening, the old man never loses his resolve and remains out and out
an optimist, the streak of optimism coming from his contentment.

His resolve is in no way closer to mada (intoxication of pride) or garva


(arrogance) which is found among the rich younger fishermen who rule the
sea with motor boats, catch sharks and call her el mar. Santiago’s is pure
resolve to end his long lucklessness on the eighty-fifth day, so that in a
lighter vein he is prepared to buy a lottery ticket with the number eightyfive.

In spite of his poverty and near-dependence on Manolin, he knows that


his humility is no disgrace and carries “no loss of true pride”. This “strange
old man” has enough confidence in his “many tricks” and is determined to “go
far out”. And far out he does go by the time “the sun rose thinly from the sea”
on the eighty-fifth morning.
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While preparing the baits with utmost precision, he fondly hopes, “I


have no luck any more. But who knows? May be today. Every day is a new
day. ... I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready” (29).

Around noon Lady Luck smiles and Santiago does hook the bigger-than-
skiff marlin. But the most improbable thing happens. Breaking all canons of
fishing and defying all his tricks and strength, the invisible fish tows the
boat and the old man to still deeper waters. The very improbability of this
dream-like sequence stuns the “strange old man”, who realises for the first
time his helplessness without the boy. Yet he never loses confidence: “What
I will do if he decides to go down, I don’t know. What I’ll do if he sounds and
dies I don’t know. But I’ll do something. There are plenty of things I can do”
(42). Even hours later, the fish still swims, not doing anything either stupid
or dramatic; and Santiago tries “not to think but to endure”, his endurance
strongly wedded to resolve.

But under the cover of darkness of the first night, he begins to feel
lonelier, misses the boy (four times) and feels a bit helpless, not afraid. He
reflects,

Think of what you are doing. You must do nothing stupid. Then he
said aloud, T wish I had the boy. To help me and to see this’. No
one should be alone in their old age, he thought. But it is
unavoidable. (45)

The last two lines no doubt reflect his helplessness, but no fear, no
repentance or blame. The fines also suggest a universal truth. In his youth
he used to sing to himself at night; but now he speaks to the boy only when
it is necessary or at night or when he is storm-bound by bad weather, because
“it was considered a virtue not to talk unnecessarily at sea, and the old man
had always considered it so and respected it” (36). Although he does not
remember exactly, he had probably started to talk aloud, when alone, after
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the boy had left him. Nevertheless, apart from missing the boy at sea, Santiago
experiences the basic human instinct of being wanted. On his return from
sea, at the end of the novel, he asks, “Did they search for me?” To this
Manolin replies, “Of course. With coast guards and with planes” (125).
Hemingway does not commit any anaucitva (imnronrietv) by expressing such
profound truth through a common man like Santiago, because it is so natural
on his part to have such feelings in his old age and loneliness, both of which
are “unavoidable”. In a few subsequent instances in the novel Santiago blurts
out such utterances spontaneously that bristle with dhvani.

Loneliness brings in its wake smrti (memory) which is conscious. This


conscious memory is neither moha (distraction) nor cinta (painful reflection)
nor dainva (depression) which had led to sanka (apprehension) as the most
pervading vvabhicarin in For Whom the Bell Tolls and ended in a negative
result. Here memory acts in the most positive way and thereby strengthens
Santiago’s resolve.

At times, of course, he is in a fix. When he has hooked the marlin but


has not yet seen his catch, he reflects:

He could ruin me by jumping or by a wild rush. . . . He cannot


know that it is only one man against him, nor that it is an old
man. . . . He looks like a male and pulls like a male and his fight
has no panic in it. I wonder if he has any plans . . . (46).

But this is more in the nature of a fighter’s pre-fight calculations rather


than negative apprehension.

Interestingly, Santiago’s resolve is aided in a positive way by his memory


of many incidents of his life: his contest with the negro, his baseball hero
Di Maggio and other good times with the boy. All these, along with the lions
of his dreams, which have been made a part of Hemingway’s ‘grand symbolism’,
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however, are not instances of pratika (symbol) in the strictest sense. They
can be seen as forming Santiago’s smrti (memory) acting as a strong
vvabhicarin.

Santiago remembers hooking the female of a pair of marlins, and the


male staying very close to the boat to see her gaffed, clubbed and hoisted
aboard. Even after that the male jumped high into the air beside the boat
to see where his companion was and then vanished into the water with all
his lavender wings spread wide. “That was the saddest thing (Santiago) ever
saw with them." The old man and the boy "begged her pardon", knowing fully
well that the dead female could hardly understand their gesture and then
they killed her promptly to put a quick end to their sense of guilt and
sadness. Kuntaka terms the inclusion of such episodes as a type of Prakarana
vakrata (beauty of episode) where even a small incident is so invented by the
poet that it contributes significance to the plot as a whole (VJ 4.11). Killing
the female marlin makes his conscience guilty temporarily : but fishing is the
profession he was born for and hence, it need not be taken as a “sin”.

Towards the end of the first night, the fish gave a sudden lurch that
pulled the old man down on his face resulting in a cut below his eye.

The blood ran down his cheek a little way. But it coagulated and
dried before it reached his chin and he worked his way back to the
bow and rested against the wood. He adjusted the sack and carefully
worked the line so that it came across a new part of his shoulders
and, holding it anchored with his shoulders, he carefully felt the
pull of the fish and then felt with his hand the progress of the skiff
through the water. (50)

The incident shows Hemingway’s dealing with small details of the old
man’s odyssey through a word-picture of Santiago’s angika (action) and
sattvika bhava (conditions or events) that are such an integral part of the
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whole abhinava (acting). Santiago’s aharva (dress and appearance) has already
been noted; and it would be shown later how his vacika (language, metre)
too matches his angika. sattvika bhava and abhinava. In passages like the
preceding one extreme care has been taken to paint the minutest details of
the journey and the struggle that not only show the author’s masterly
handling of the scene, but hold the sequence to the reader as in a motion
picture.

A repeated technique in The Old Man is the presentation of such


abhinavas (acting) with Santiago’s own observations, so that the long voyage
is not merely a catalogue of such small abhinavas. but makes the presentation
of Santiago on the sea more lively. For instance, Hemingway does not even
fail to narrate that “once he stood up and urinated over the side of the skiff”.
Then he “looked at the stars and checked his course” that told him he was
going east of Havana.

Similarly, the fish giving the lurch, as described in the foregoing passage,
brings fresh speculations in Santiago’s mind:

I wonder what he made that lurch for, he thought. The wire must
have slipped on the great hill of his back. ... But he cannot pull
this skiff for ever, no matter how great he is. Now everything is
cleared away that might make trouble ... all that a man can ask.(50)

Despite the pain of the cord on his back, Santiago’s resolution is on the
rise like a crescendo and he challenges his unseen opponent by name with
confidence, “Fish, . . . I’ll stay with you until I am dead.” The lurch of the
fish, though throwing the old man off his balance for a moment, brings him
fresh vigour; and with the second daylight, when Santiago makes sure that
the fish was not tiring, he again challenges, “Fish, ... I love you and respect
you very much. But I will kill you before the day ends” (52). Hemingway uses
the technique of virodha (contrast) in two different ways to suit two different
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occasions. In the case of killing the female marlin, it was a contrast between
“begging pardon” and “butchering”; and here it is between “loving, respecting”
and “killing”. Both the cases, however, come under the term, bhava-sandhi
(co-existence of emotions).

The second day begins with a happy chat with a stray warbler, another
lurch given by the fish, eating a raw tuna to give strength to his cramped
hand and making a fresh resolve: “If he will jump I can kill him. But he stays
down for ever. Then I will stay down with him for ever” (58). Just then
Santiago “saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over
the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever
alone on the sea” (59). The early morning bliss had made him forget his pain
on the back and the cramped hand. The flight of ducks gives him a pleasure
of self-realisation that no radio can give to the rich fishermen. But this dhrti
(contentment) turns to vismav (wonder) a little later when the marlin makes
his first appearance with all his grandeur and glory.

Once Santiago sees his catch, his resolve takes up a stronger tone:

He is a great fish and I must convince him. . . . ‘I’ll kill him


though’, he said. ‘In all his greatness and his glory.’ Although it
is unjust, he thought. But I will show him what a man can do and
what a man endures. ‘I told the boy I was a strange old man’, he
said. ‘Now is the time when I must prove it.’ (64)

He has to kill his new-found “brother”, even though it may be considered


“unjust” to kill a fish which is “more noble and more able”. With the earlier
female marlin, Santiago’s conscience had been stricken with guilt; but here
his resolve has been so strengthened by the eighty-four days’ lucklessness
and the last twenty four hours’ struggle and endurance that the idea of
killing being “unjust” is a fleeting one and cannot be considered as a bhava.
On the other hand, Santiago’s resolve to “convince” the big fish has extended
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meaning because he has to use all his “tricks” and “intelligence” to “convince”
his opponent that in spite of its ability and strength, greatness and dignity,
it has walked into Santiago’s “treacheries”, “snares” and “traps” and, therefore,
it will be killed.

The old man is no more troubled by the intricacies behind the dilemma
of killing or not killing. “ 'Don’t think, old man,’ he said to himself. ‘Rest
gently now against the wood and think of nothing’ ” (65). It is only a natural
sattvika abhinava on Santiago’s part to ease the pain on his back and
concentrate on the movement of his prey. But this, in no way, suggests that
“suffering and wood blend magically into an image of Christ on the Cross”
(Melvin Backman, 1962 : 10), as has been pointed out by some in their
eagerness to make Santiago a Christ-figure.

Towards the afternoon, Santiago misses the latest results of the baseball
league and immediately remembers his idol Di Maggio “who does all things
perfectly even with the pain of bone spur in the heel” no matter if Santiago
does not know exactly what a bone spur is. Santiago’s mental bond with Di
Maggio is based on two factors: the baseball star’s father was also a fisherman,
and his own “traitor” left hand was less painful than a bone spur. But that
Santiago never has the slightest mada (intoxication of pride) is again evident
here because he never aspires to the stardom of his idol, although once in his
youth he was called El Campeon.

As the sun set he remembered, to give himself more confidence,


the time . . . when he had played the hand game with the great
negro from Cienfuegos who was the strongest man on the docks.(67)

But the mention of the vvabhicaribhava (“to give himself more


confidence”) appears superfluous. It goes without saying that remembering
Di Maggio and the hand-wrestling episode are only meant to boost his resolve
or confidence.
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Santiago knows that he cannot survive on determination alone. So he


catches a dolphin towards the second evening. It is a minor incident by itself,
but each step of the action - the hooking, preparing and eating the dolphin
raw - is taken care of exquisitely as by a filigree artisan at work. For
example, the dolphin’s

jaws were working convulsively in quick bites against the hook


and it pounded the bottom of the skiff with its long body, its tail
and head, until he clubbed it across the shining golden head until
it shivered and was still. (71)

Hemingway has narrated the incident skilfully in a para of five long


sentences to bring out the old man’s adroitness in fishing in such a near­
impossible cramped condition. With his dinner secured, Santiago can now
talk of his confidence to the fish in a lighter vein too: ‘“How do you feel, fish?’
he asked aloud. ‘I feel good and my left hand is better and I have food for
a night and a day. Pull the boat, fish’ ” (73).

After gaining nourishment from eating half of the dolphin raw and one
flying fish, the old man “lay forward cramping himself against the line with
all of his body, putting all of his weight on to his right hand, and he was
asleep” for the first time in thirty six hours. Ordinarily, nidra (sleep) would
not have been considered as a vvabhicarin. but here, coming as a natural
corollary to the long ongoing fight, it not only provides the much-needed rest
but also brings Santiago his favourite dreams.

This is the second of the three times in the narrative that Santiago
sleeps: before, during and after the odyssey. Each time the lions that he had
seen on the beaches of Africa as a young boy come to him in his dreams.
Seeing them gives him so much contentment that on the second afternoon,
Santiago wishes that he could “sleep and dream about the lions”. “Why are
the lions the main thing that is left”, he wonders. Nidra (sleep) and supta
(dreaming), as it would turn out, achieve greater significance on the last
night in the fuller context of the novel.
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As a contented Santiago watches the lions in his dream, Hemingway


takes the liberty of creating a dream-like excitant : “The moon had been up
for a long time but he slept on and the fish pulled on steadily and the boat
moved into the tunnel of clouds” (81). The metaphor of the boat moving into
the tunnel of clouds poignantly heightens the lyrical qualities of the work.
But Santiago is brought back to the harsh reality from his fleeting romance
with lions with a bang:

He woke with the jerk of his right fist coming up against and the
line burning out through his right hand. . . . He had been pulled
down tight on to the bow and his face was in the cut slice of
dolphin and he could not move. (81)

By the time Santiago slowly comes back to sitting position, the fish has
jumped more than a dozen times. Then it slowly begins to make a very
distant circle as the sun rises in the third morning. With this circling (for the
marlin is tiring), Santiago has won the war of nerves with his sheer resolve
and determination, and it is a matter of few hours before the marlin is killed
in all its greatness and glory - a feat that would make Di Maggio feel proud
of the old man.

All his resolve has finally brought Santiago a rich dividend of one and
a half thousand pounds of fish and it is indeed time for the old man to bask
in the sunshine of contentment as he sails south-west towards land with the
marlin lashed alongside the skiff. To feed his contented self, he takes the
luxury of hooking a patch of weed with small shrimps that he eats raw with
pleasure. Considering the magnitude of his achievements, “he could see the
fish and he had only to look at his hands and feel his back against the stem
to know that this had truly happened and was not a dream” (93). The lions,
his youth and the smell of Africa belonged to his dreams; his fish, his fight
and his resolution belong to reality.
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However, the changeover from dream to reality does not take long. As
he sails with the favourable trade wind for about an hour, the first shark hits
him, following the mile-deep scent of the marlin’s blood. Santiago’s contentment
again gives way to his resolution to fight: “The old man’s head was clear and
good now and he was full of resolution” (101). As he hits the shark with “his
blood-mushed hands driving a good harpoon with all his strength”, he hits
it “without hope but with resolution and complete malignancy” (emphasis
added 102).

Santiago’s resolution to fight the marlin had no malignancy, and was


tempered with hope and faith, love and respect, whereas his resolution to
fight the shark is full of malignancy and rage. He kills the shark, no doubt,
but from now on his hope is on the wane. For the next two hours, he tries
to regain his repose, to keep himself strong, to “think about something cheerful”
and to bring back some hope by looking at the unmutilated forward part of
his fish which he had “killed for pride”, which he “loved while he was alive”
and also “loved him after” (105). But his impaired-contentment does not last
long as “he saw the first of the next two sharks”.

Ay’, he said aloud. There is no translation for this word and perhaps
it is just a noise such as a man might make, involuntarily, feeling
the nail go through his hands and into the wood. (107)

Santiago’s heart-rending cry of loss is too evident to need the comparison


which the author brings in, and which has led critics to confirm the image
of Christ nailed on the Cross. Even then the simile is a little too lopsided:
on the basis of emotional intensity Santiago’s experience does not stand
comparison with Christ’s. With all fairness to Santiago, the attack of the
sharks and the loss of the marlin cannot be equated with Christ’s sacrifice
on the Cross. Instead of heightening the intensity of the old man’s stabbing
pain the comparison rather belittles the value of crucifixion. Moreover, the
simile does not seem to have any other suggestive value. The cry itself is an
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apt sattvikabhava (in-built response) along with other responses in killing


the two sharks.

With a quarter of the fish gone, instead of meekly surrendering to fate,


Santiago still retains enough resolution to fight more sharks and prepares
his remaining gears: “Think of what you can do with what there is”. Without
looking at or thinking of the mutilated underside of the fish, Santiago tells
himself to “just rest and try to get (his) hands in shape to defend what is left
of him” and “wait for the next ones”.

He kills the next one, but he realises the futility of his lone fight without
any effective weapon. The reader is thus gradually prepared to face the
coming disaster that Santiago faces with a stoic calmness. The old man has
already begged pardon for inviting such a fate on himself and the fish: “I
shouldn’t have gone out so far, fish. ... I am sorry, fish” (110). Even after
killing the fourth and fifth sharks under extreme srama (weariness) he
again begs pardon, “ ‘Half fish, . . . Fish that you were. I am sorry that I
went too far out. I ruined us both.’ ”(116) He lays the entire responsibility
squarely on his own shoulders and admits that he had violated his luck when
he went too far out in the sea. It is he alone who had decided to go too far
out to try his luck on the eightyfifth day. He does not blame any quirk of fate,
nor his loneliness, nor even the sharks. Life has given him an inner repose
and has taught him to face the odds to the best of his ability and accept the
end with calm. He has suffered all the physical punishment while catching
his biggest prize, now he accepts the same for violating his luck.

The sharks, of course, continue to come till nearly midnight, and the old
man continues to wage his lone battle and he knows that “the fight was
useless”. At last the sharks came no more, for “there was nothing more for
them to eat” (119). With no more sharks to fight, knowing he is beaten
finally, taking the loss with no worldly bitterness, he feels light-headed as
though a great burden has been unloaded from his chest, and he sails now
on his now light skiff towards the glow of Havana.
126

As an air of indifference engulfs him, “he had no thoughts nor feelings


of any kind. He was past everything” (120). A true warrior alone can attain
this supreme level of indifference even after a loss, because his bent of mind
has been shaped all along by an attitude of contentment. Santiago does not
rave or rant, tear his hair or cry or go crazy. His only immediate concern is
to sleep: “Bed is my friend. . . . Bed is a great thing. It is easy when you
are beaten.” (121) This quiet acceptance of loss has grown from his contented
life. Never once in his youth Santiago El Campeon was drunk with
intoxication of pride; and now the true fighter has accepted the loss with
malice for none. All his passions have cooled; and it is called bhavasanti
(pacification of emotions).

Santiago, indeed, is resigned to what life has finally offered to him, but
not before admitting defeat. As he tells Manolin later with humility, “They
truly beat me . . . afterwards.” He is magnanimous in defeat and, therefore,
indifferent to the go of the world. He is now past victory and loss; he is past
everything.

After reaching the harbour at midnight under a rising wind, Santiago


fastens the skiff to a rock, shoulders the mast and slowly climbs towards his
shack. For once, he looks back at the “white naked line of the (marlin’s)
backbone and the dark mass of the head with the projecting bill and all the
nakedness between”. The nothingness in Santiago’s self has ultimately found
an ‘objective correlative’ in the nakedness of the fish.

Krishna Rayan explains that objective correlatives are primarily


representations in art of the actual causes (laukika-karanas) and the actual
consequences or manifestations (laukika-karvas) of an emotion in life (1987 :
116). In such an asamlaksvakrama dhvani as “all the nakedness between”
the author needs no metaphor to convey the intended emotion to the reader,
because the suggested meaning (the emotion) springs instantaneously and
effortlessly from the stated meaning (the objects).
127

A great deal of affinity has a again been discovered between Christ on


the Cross and Santiago carrying the mast, falling down “five times” (compared
to Christ’s three times) and finally sleeping “face down on the newspapers
with the arms out straight and the palms of his hands up” (127) - the
sleeping posture effected by the “depth of his tiredness”.

It has also been observed that this is really the end of the novel and the
rest is merely an epilogue. Manolin acts here as the true sahrdava
(connoisseur). He first makes sure that “the old man was breathing and then
he saw the old man’s hands and he started to cry”. The deep-scarred palms
are enough to tell Manolin what hell Santiago had gone through - a perfect
anubhava for a perfect alambana-vibhava. He goes for coffee for the old man,
crying all the way down the road, without bothering that others see him
crying. His tears describe the indescribable - his shock, his grief, and his
joy at seeing the old man breathing. His rise of emotion is spontaneous. It
is not a process of inference. As dhvani theorists put it metaphorically, the
jar is only revealed by the lamp and is not its inseparable adjunct. For
instance, the marlin’s nakedness is not a referential sign of Santiago’s emotion:
the relation is not one of cause and effect; the association is purely suggestive
and spontaneous. The process is repeated in Manolin’s case now, though more
forcefully. In the speechless encounter of Manolin with a sleeping Santiago,
Hemingway has been able to ‘impersonalise and universalise the world of
emotion by the spell of his art’. The boy and the old man no longer remain
as mere Manolin and Santiago in this unique poetic function called
sadharanikarana (generalisation of emotion).

The final frozen picture continues to reflect Santiago’s indifference


towards the outside world. In his shack, against the backdrop of a heavy
wind outside, “the old man was sleeping again. He was still sleeping on his
face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The old man was dreaming
about the lions” (127).
128

Krishna Chaitanya notes how “the suggested image can be charged with
feeling through condensation that is the result of the projection of inner
experience upon outward reality” (1987 : 144). He quotes Hugh L’Anson
Fauset who considers Coleridge’s The Ancient Mariner as “a projection into
imagery of the poet’s own inner tensions”. Chaitanya concludes his observation
thus:

In fact this poem and its imagery are ideal instances of what
Sanskrit poetics terms vastu_dhvani. The becalmed ship is the
expressed reality. It suggests a matter of fact or an idea, the poet’s
realisation of his inadequacy, of the ebbing away of his creative
energies. . . . We feel with the poet in his frustration as we rejoice
with him in his recovery of ecstasy.

The naked backbone of the marlin is the direct image of poetic naturalism
(svabhavokti) which is finally resolved into the suggestion of feeling in the
image of a sleeping Santiago dreaming about the lions. Like Coleridge’s
becalmed ship, the sleeping Santiago transports to us ‘the poet’s realisation
of his inadequacy, of the ebbing away of his creative energies’. The old man
has proved his resolution; he is now enjoying contentment, being back with
Manolin, and he sleeps with his favourite memory of lions, leaving the reader
to ‘rejoice with the artist in his recovery of ecstasy’, i.e., santa rasa.

“In the poetic tradition a special relationship exists between man and
nature: nature may be regarded as the external projection of man and
conversively man himself may be considered as a projection of nature”
(Vatsayan and Misra, 1988 : 34). Critics of The Old Man have analysed the
loss of the marlin in terms of man’s transgression of permissible boundary.
Because Santiago ventures into that part of the sea where humans fear to
tread, the forces of nature are let loose in the guise of guardian-sharks to
prevent Santiago from taking away the prize. But viewed differently, Nature
never fights a compassionate soul. The clouds and the favourable wind appear
129

here with the right intensity at the right time - first the light brisa which
is better weather for Santiago than for the fish (59), then the “high cumulous
clouds and enough cirrus above them” (99) to help him sail homeward, then
the gale rising slowly and blowing strongly” (121) when he lands on shore
and, at last, the cyclone blowing with full force to stop further fishing for the
next three or four days (122,126) so that Santiago can sleep indoors peacefully.
The cyclone, in fact, can be taken as a primordial projection of man against
the evil deeds of the sharks in depriving a genial, compassionate, and true
warrior of his hard-earned prize. To treat the storm as a mere pathetic
fallacy would be a naive exercise.

The Santiago-Manolin interdependence has also been interpreted


differently by various critics. Benson considers Santiago’s repeating desire
for Manolin’s presence as a “ritual restoration” (of his own youth), “a
plaintive cry for the lost cause and natural talents of youth and a protest
against the injustice of being old and alone” (1969 : 174). If this, indeed, is
true, one is tempted to question the suggestive status of remembering the
hand-wrestling episode and dreaming of the lions. Santiago is well aware of
and is attuned to his old age and loneliness. It is quite natural for him to talk
and listen to Manolin, his ffiend-admirer-diseiple, after his daily rigorous
pantomime on sea for eight to ten hours. He notices with relief, “how pleasant
it was to have someone to talk to instead of speaking only to himself and to
sea. ‘I missed you’, he said” (125). Baker rightly describes the call for the
boy as an “invocation”, “nearly magical as if, by means of it, some of the
strength of youth flowed in to sustain the limited powers of age” (1963 : 307).
This is true even as early as on the third day when Santiago badly needs the
boy for help. During the first two days he remembers Manolin rather for the
unalloyed joy of company. Once he says, “I wish the boy were here and I had
some salt” to make his raw fish-food a little tastier. Moreover, Santiago
never “protests” against being old and alone. While on one occasion he says,
130

“No one should be alone in their old age” (45), not much later does he add,
“no man was ever alone on the sea” (59).

The story of The Old Man, thus, is an interplay of three major feeling-
tones - mati. dhrti and smrti - which finally culminate in nirveda
(indifference), enabling the sahrdava (sympathetic reader) to enjoy santa
rasa (Quietism). One is no more concerned with whether Santiago will or will
not catch fish, whether the story is possible anywhere else, whether Santiago’s
record has later been broken or not or such other extra-textual questions.
The reader is concerned only with the present. As Abhinavagupta says, “The
aesthetic experience, just as a flower born out of magic has, as its essence,
solely the present, is correlated neither with what came before nor with what
comes after” (Gnoli, 1968 : xxxvi). He also says that “rasa is not limited by
any difference of space, time and subject”. Santiago’s nirveda has truly taken
us past space and time, "past everything".

This is precisely why, of all the works of Hemingway, The Old Man
alone qualifies for the status of an uttama kavva (composition of the highest
order), where emotion is primarily suggested (asamlakhva-krama-dhvani).

II

According to Rajasekhara, the mind of man is of three grades according


to its predominant capacity for Smrti (Memory), Mati (Cognition) and Pratibha
(Genius). H.L.Sharma explains memory as the record of the past, cognition
as apprehension of the present and genius as a prophetic quality. (1991 : 87).
This is as much true of Santiago as of Hemingway himself.

Both are geniuses in their respective fields. Both prove their pratibha
in their own ways: one in being able to ultimately catch the biggest marlin
against heavy odds, the other in producing his masterpiece after long years
of barrenness coupled with attempted suicides and broken marriages.
The Old Man came out in 1952 and was an instant success. His earlier
bestseller, For Whom The Bell Tolls, had been published in 1940.
131

Like pratibha. smrti and mati are also apparent in both Santiago and
Hemingway. The Old Man, being Hemingway’s swansong, reflects all his past
experience and “tricks” in writing : “I know many tricks” (20), “Now is when
I must prove it” (64). His craft becomes more important than his fiction. The
depth of perseverance in Hemingway’s polishing and refining his craft is
evident from what he says while elaborating his now-famous principle of
iceberg:

If it is any use to know it, I always try to write on the principle


of iceberg. There is seven eighths of it under water for every part
that shows. Anything you know you can eliminate and it only
strengthens your iceberg. It is the part that doesn’t show. If a
writer omits something because he doesn’t know it, then there is
a hole in the story.

The Old Man and The Sea could have been over a thousand pages
long ... I have tried to eliminate everything unnecessary to
conveying experience to the reader so that after he or she has read
something it will become a part of his or her experience and seem
actually to have happened. This is very hard to do and I’have
worked at it very hard.

Because Hemingway has worked very hard, he has been able to “make
a real old man, a real boy, and a real sea and a real fish and real sharks”,
successfully transporting the reader to an experience of these characters and
objects. This process leads to an achievement of sadharanikarana
(generalisation) and thus the relish of santa rasa is complete.

To achieve such a high degree of credibility in the plot, Hemingway has


deliberately employed a style that is at once suggestive and simple - a style
often deprecated as “a fake Biblical prose”, “calculus in prose fiction” etc. The
chief problem relates to the distinct flavour of The Old Man when compared
to the majority of contemporary fiction. The unique style of the novel has often
132

invited not very encouraging critical terms like “mask of humble perfection”
(Benson). But what, according to such critics, should have been the apt style
of the novel they have not ventured to suggest.

A brief analysis of the language employed in the novel is undertaken in


the following lines. To begin with, here is a sample of Santiago’s vacika
(language) expressing his self-assuring mati:

I won/der why/ he jumped,/the old/ man thought.


He jumped/ almost/ as though/ to show/ me
how big/ he was.
I know/ now, a/nyway,/ he thought.
I wish/ I could/ show him/ what sort/ of man/ I am.
But then/ he would/ see the/ cramped hand.
Let him/think 1/ am more/ man than/ I am
and 1/ will be/ so.
I wish/ I was/ the fish,/ he thought.
With eve/rything/ he has/ against
only/ my will/ and my/ intel/ligence.

There are seven complete sentences here, and the last one is incomplete.
Out of the eightyone words in these lines seventyfour are monosyllabic -
the other six are equally simple: “only” “wonder”, “almost”, “anyway”,
“everything”, “against” and “intelligence”. “I” is used ten times, “me” once and
“my” twice; “he” is used seven times - five times for the fish and twice for the
old man. Apart from the personal pronouns, necessary in the context, only
nouns and verbs dominate. The bi-syllabic divisions of the lines as shown
here and which, in no way, is consciously adopted by Hemingway, only make
it clear how the monosyllabic words are rendered a rhythm natural to them.

In the passage below, Hemingway tells what Santiago loves to dream


and what he no longer dreams. It is more in the nature of ukti (plain
133

statement) without any vaicitti (strikingness) of language and thought, and


yet it maintains a rhythmic pattern with the usual predominance of nouns.

He no/ longer/ dreamed of/ storms,


nor of/ women,/nor of/great oc/eurren/ces,
nor of/great fish/nor of/ fights,
nor con/tests of/ strength, nor/ of his/wife. . -
He on/ly dreamed/ of pla/ces now ) "
and of/ the li/ons on/ the beach. fS't
They played/like young/ cats in/the dusk %
and he/ loved them/ as he/ loved the/boy
He ne/ver dreamed/ about/ the boy.

All the sentences have one verb each, (except the third which is a
compound one) and all begin with personal pronouns, either “He” or “They”,
(like the multiple use of “I” in the first example). This is another Biblical
trait, apart from the predominance of primary nouns and noun-derivatives.
All this makes Hemingway a subanta writer of the Vidarbhi riti (style), as
different from a samasa (compound) writer of the Gaudi riti who, like Hopkins,
has a marked preference for compounds. A subanta writer also uses adjectives,
besides nouns and pronouns. Compared to The Bell. The Old Man has very
few uses of compounds and lengthy sentence structures.

Jackson Benson makes an interesting comparison of Hemingway’s


sentence structure with that of Henry James and Samuel Johnson. The average
number of words in a sentence in Hemingway is 13.7 whereas that in Henry
James in The Ambassadors is 35.3 and that in Samuel Johnson in the early
Ramblers is 51.4 (1969 : 184). Benson finds the style of The Bell “appropriate
to the plot and characters”, but, he says, with the “burden of allegory and
allusion”, “the primitive simplicity of Santiago must be felt as a kind of
hypocrisy expressed by an author who seems to be trying to manipulate the
audience”. He then concludes that “the very intensity of Hemingway’s drive
134

towards perfection, which is reflected in both the unmarred perfection of his


central character and in the precise structuring of the narrative itself,
contradicts the humility of the protagonist and the humility assumed by the
tone of language” (1969 : 185). But while such perfection and precision are
exactly what the Indian poeticians envisage as the quality of a literary work
they consider as uttama kavva (work of the highest order), it appears to be
no contradiction that a simple, humble folk may speak only in a simple,
humble language both in reality and in art.

The beauty of Hemingway’s short sentences is that they are not repetitive.
A few examples of different types are given below. Rajasekhara divides
sentences, in relation to verbs only, into three types: (1) One-verb sentence,
(ii) More-than-one-verb-sentence, and (iii) Verbless sentence. One-verb
sentences are of five sub-types; more-than-one-verb sentences and verbless
sentences are of three sub-types each. (KM ch.VI)

One-Verb Sentences Examples from The Old Man

i) Oneverb, one agent- He was shivering with the


nominative morning cold.

ii) Same verb attached They sleep and the moon and the sun
repeatedly to different sleep and even the ocean sleeps...
agent-nominatives:

iii) Same verb, after He is good for the night and so am I.


completing one T feel confident today.' 'So do I.'
sentence, attached to I can do nothing with him and he can do
another. nothing with me. The strange light the
sun made in the water... meant good
weather and so did the shape of the
clouds over the land.
135

iv) Same verb implied in Once I could see quite well in the dark,
the sentences that not in the absolute dark. But almost as
follow. a cat sees.
'I didn't know sharks had such handsome,
beautifully formed tails.' 'I didn't either.'

v) Same verb proper in No example found in The Old Man.

an analogy excluded to
another agent-nominative.

More-than-one-verb sentences :

vi) Same meaning : I love you and respect you very much.

vii) Different meanings : The turtles saw them,


interpreted by nouns: approached them ... shut their eyes ...

and ate them. They play and make jokes


and love one another.

viii) Different meanings Now I must convince him and then


uninterpreted by nouns: kill him.

The old man unhooked the fish, rebaited


the line ... and tossed it over. The bird

went higher and circled again ...

Verbless Sentences :

ix) 'Be' 'What have vou got?' 'Supper'.


'They have other men on the team.'
'Naturallv'.
'I am clear enough in the head.'
'Too clear'.
'How is he?1 'Sleeping'.
136

x) Others : 'Let me get four fresh ones. 'One'. ...


'How much did you suffer?’
'Plenty'.
'He didn't beat you.1
'Not the fish’.

xi) Substitute verb He went back to rowing and fishing


participles : ... and he could hear them rolling and
blowing.
'Now let me get through the eating of
the dolphin'.

The foregoing analysis of the sentence types is based on only one


parameter, i.e., akhvata (the verb in relation to a sentence). Rajasekhara also
prescribes another and more important parameter, i.e., abhidha-vvapara (overt
marking of the grammatical relation between different parts of a sentence).
On this basis, sentences can be of three types: (i) those in which all
grammatical relations are explicitly marked, (ii) those in which all
grammatical relations are implicitly marked, and (iii) those in which both
kinds are present.

With various levels of suggestive meaning, The Old Man has many
sentence structures where links have to be established by the reader. For
example,

i) “When once, through my treachery, it had been necessary to him


to make a choice, the old man thought” (48). The “choice” is then
explained in the whole next para: the choice of the man and the
fish joining them together without anyone helping anyone.

ii) “They are our brothers like the flying fish” (46). In the context,
“they” refers to the porpoise, but later refers to other sea-creatures
including the marlin whom Santiago loves.
137

iii) “ ‘Take a good rest, small bird,’ he said. ‘Then go in and take your
chance like any man or birdoffish’" (53). "The “chance” of the bird
ought to be read together with the earlier reference to “choice”.

iv) “ ‘. . . I am glad that we do not have to try to kill the stars’ “(74).
Killing of the “stars”, the moon and the sun who are his “friends”
is considered almost a “sin”, but not living on the sea and killing
“our true brothers”.

There are sentences with explicit grammatical relations, where meaning


is usually deduced by the old man himself and hence, the easier
comprehensibility by the reader. The following is a comparatively long sentence
with two adjectival and adverbial modifiers.

He took all his pain and what was left of his strength and his long
gone pride and put it against the fish’s agony and the fish came
over on to his side and swam gently on his side, his bill almost
touching the planking of the skiff, and started to pass the boat,
long, deep, wide, silver and barred with purple and interminable
in the water. (93)

In spite of the length of the sentence, the comprehensibility is easy because


of the positioning of the modifiers and the reader is not at pains to establish
the link between the parts.

The Old Man is fundamentally the story of an old fisher-man. The author,
therefore, deliberately makes his language simple and real and carefully
makes use of alamkaras.

Since the majority of rhetorical devices are either directly articulated by


Santiago or belong to his stream of consciousness, they are crisp, simple and
easy to deal with. This necessitates a marked absence of atisavokti (hyperbole),
samasokti (condensed metaphor) etc.
138

Hemingway has made the most striking use of one-liner upama (simile)
with the inevitable “as”, “like”, “as though” etc. A few examples are given
here:

“The sail .. . looked like the flag of permanent defeat.”

“The scars were as old as erosions in a fishless desert.”

“The tops of the blue hills showed white as though they were snow­
capped and the clouds looked like high snow mountains above
them.”

“He saw the white cumulus built like friendly piles of icecream.
His left hand was still as tight as the gripped claws of an eagle.”

“The fish’s eye looked as detached as the mirrors in a periscope or


as a saint in a procession.” This is the only malopama (string of
simile) in the entire work.

"When the fish had been hit, it was as though he himself were hit."

“The shark came like a pig to the trough.”

“The lights on the city were only perceptible at first, as the light
in the sky before the moon rises.”

In all these sentences both upamana and upameva are precisely tailored.
Only once does Hemingway indulge in utpreksha (poetic fancy) a form of
vakva vakrata (beauty in sentence) keeping Santiago’s life-long affectionate
association with the sea in mind:

“He always thought of the sea as la mar”.

Indian poets always think of the river as feminine and the sea as
masculine. Santiago, in deed, justifies the image when he says that the moon
“affects her as it does a woman” and that she gives or withholds great
favours. The second occasion of poetic fancy occurs when
139

A great island of saragasso weed heaved and swung in the light


sea as though the ocean were making love with something under
a yellow blanket.

While the similes maintain a balance on the surface level, Sylvester


finds ‘a fundamental principle of harmonious opposition’ in the use of
oxymorons: “compassionate violence”, “comfortable pain”, “life in death”,
“aged strength” and “victorious defeat” (1962 : 86). This kind of ‘harmonious
opposition is also achieved through vvatireka (contrast), virodha (paradox)
and even apprastuta prasamsa (veiled praise). This last device is particularly
striking in “Now I must convince him and then I must kill him” and “Never
have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than
you, brother. ... I don’t care who kills who” (92). Santiago does, indeed, care.
He kills the fish; and by praising his adversary he only proves to Manolin,
Di Maggio and others that he is still a great fisherman.

But such contrasts are used in the novel along with such other devices
as parallelisms like “You were born to be a fisherman as the fish was born
to be a fish” and “Is he bringing me in or am I bringing him in?”, or, sandeha
(doubt) like “How many people will be fed, he thought. But are they worthy
to eat him ? No, of course not”, or, concealment like “It is enough to live on
the sea and kill our true brothers.” Visvanathan defines this last device
(concealment) as “the denial of the real nature of a thing and the ascription
of an alien, or imaginary, character” (SD, X. 363).

The killing of the marlin is presented through upacara vakrata (deviation


in metaphorical expression) by “superimposition of identity” which involves
“superimposition of attributes on things having a different nature, e.g.,
concreteness is distinct from abstractness, liquidity from solidity, the sentient
from the non-sentient” (VJ, 381):

i) “He took all his pain and what was left of his strength and he put
it against the fish’s agony and the fish came over on to his side
and swam gently. . . .interminable in the water. . . .”
140

ii) “Then the fish came alive with his death in him, . .

iii) ‘He seemed to hang in the air ... The sea was
discolouring with the red of the blood from his heart.” “. . . now I
must do the slave work. He is my fortune.”

The lyrical features of the novel also interestingly include assonance:


“he let the line slip down, down, down . . ”, and “I must get him close, close,
close . . “.

At the allegorical level, marlin is a ‘brother’ and other sea-creatures are


made to behave like human beings, like Lawrence’s snake, Gardiner’s dog or
Eliot’s cat. Also, “epithets serve to heighten the beauty of verbs and nouns”,
which “reveal the special grace of natural objects or actions”. This device is
called visesana vakrata (deviation in epithets) (VJ, 384) : examples of which
abound in The Old Man: “the turtles and hawk-bills with their elegance and
speed and their great value”, “the stupid logger-heads, yellow in their armour-
plaiting, strange in their love-making and happily eating the Portuguese
man-of-war”, “the compact, bullet-shaped albacore, his big, unintelligent eyes
staring”, “the male porpoise blowing with noise and the female with a sigh”,
or “the faithfulness of a male marlin for his fiancee”.

However, Hemingway seems to fail in maintaining precision and simple


diction at two places in the whole narrative: one, “He had no mysticism about
turtles .. .” and two, “slowly and conscientiously he ate all the wedge-shaped
strips of the fish”. Both “mysticism” and “conscientiously” might well have
been replaced with words of simpler sentiment. A reader may not need a
dictionary to understand them, but Santiago may. When William Faulkner
said that Hemingway has “never been known to use a word that might cause
the reader to check with a dictionary and see if it is properly used”, Hemingway
replied:

Poor Faulkner! Does he really think big emotions come from big
words ? He thinks I do not know ten-dollar words. I know them
141

all right. But there are older, simple and better words, and these
are the ones I use. (Quoted in P.K.Singh, 1994 : 157)

ha the April 1936 issue of the Esquire. Hemingway had published in


about two hundred words the plight of an old fisherman who was pulled by
a huge marlin for two days. He eventually killed it, lashed it with his boat,
but lost half of it to the sharks with whom he fought single-handedly, when
other fishermen rescued him. He was “half crazy from his loss, and the
sharks were still circling the boat” (Baker 1963 : 294). In 1952, the story
appeared as The Old Man - a fiction “based on many actual occurrences”,
as Hemingway later declared. Kuntaka calls this Prabandha vakrata (Beauty
in Composition):

... a poet should select only such themes as are capable of evoking
sentiments and moods and generating a sense of wonder in the
readers. He should also see that the theme so selected will give full
scope for the exquisitely aesthetic, original and matchless inventive
power of his genius . . .

In a whole literary work also, such an attainment of aesthetic


effect owing its origin to the original inventive power of the poet
will present a new shade of charm even like a new touch-up given
by a painter to an old broken portrait. (VJ, IV.4, 541)

The charm in The Old Man has been effected, to a large extent, with
induction of certain episodes and the manner of narration. To keep at par
with the simplicity of the plot, character and narration, Hemingway modified
the title of the story from its original philosophical-sounding The Sea In Being
to the present simpler The Old Man and The Sea. As Kuntaka again explains
this form of Prabandha Vakrata. “The proper name itself reveals the
abounding inventive power of the poet, since it significantly highlights the
most important and interesting aspect of the whole plot itself, serving as the
vital essence as it were of the work as a whole” (VJ, IV.24, 575).
142

Rovit and Brenner’s conclusions regarding The Old Man agree with
the findings of the present study: “Given Hemingway’s temperamental relation
to the universe, its effects will move towards pathos rather than tragedy”
CBhavabhuti’s synthesis of karuna’); “its philosophical attitude will be one of
cosmic acceptance rather than rejection” (dhrti): “its mode of acceptance will
be framed within a mode of quiescent resignation rather than exhilaration
or joy” (nirveda): “technically poetic evocation and suggestion will inform
the prose with an overwhelming sense of surging meanings beneath the
surface level of the action” (dhvani) (1986 : 77).

Hemingway himself, however, invites his readers to read anything he


writes “for the pleasure of reading it”, because “whatever else you find will
be the measure of what you brought to reading”. Much earlier, Emerson had
prophesied, “It is the good reader that maketh the good book”; and a sahrdava
(Emerson’s “good reader”)will never pronounce The Old Man a “doctor-bait”,
“professor-bait”, “thousand exegeses” or “nonsense”, as Philip Toynbee calls it.

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