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Three Worlds, One Rule

Ernest Miller Hemingway left a series of excellent works in his limited 62 years, such as The Sun Also rises or, A Farewell to Arms and so on, He is good at using the simplest words to explain the most complicated things emotions, and this writing style is called Iceberg Principle. Among his works, The Old Man and the Sea brings him many faithful readers and the appreciation of major awards—Nobel Prize in Literature and Pulitzer Prize and it is best novel to show his image of tough man and the American Spirit. This book mainly tells an old man manages to go fishing after eighty-three days’ vain and his struggle in the skiff. By describing the old man’s thoughts and actions in different scenes-real life in the ground, dream and life in the sea, which can be seen in three worlds, the author presents one rule that is applied in these different worlds- fighting and never giving up.



He fights against time in the dream. In Santiago’s dream, no women, no storms, no great fishes but the golden and white beaches in Africa and the lions. These scenes are from his young experience in Africa. But why does he only dream this experience in his long life? And why does him only dream the lions rather than other animals, just like cats, dogs and fishes that he sees every day? We can know it is in youth that he goes to Africa from the novel. In the terms of human lives, this stage is strongest in body and most determined in will. And Santiago recalls his awesome fishing action many times. Any dream building on the dreamers’ wishes according to Sigmund Freud’s theory. So, what the fisherman misses is the most valuable and irrecoverable youth. It is time that takes his strength away. And he fights against it and tries to bring the pleasure back in the dream day in and day out. No weapon is more destructive than time for a hero. When it comes to lions, the first words appearing in our mind is fighting against other animals without failure. Using strong lions to build the image of the strong is to reveal S’s faith and hope. So, both the lions and the scenes in illusion are endowed with symbolism—fighting.



He fights for pride. There is a detail that Santiago refuses to borrow money from others in the book, even when he is too unlucky to catch fishes and doesn’t have enough money to have breakfast. And he thinks that first you borrow, and then you beg. Borrowing and begging are essentially the same. Both of them demand the loss of the pride. And he believes it and fight for it from youth to old age. We grow up from an infant and we are pride and don’t bow our heads to anyone. But as time goes by, we become increasingly numb. Facing our pride being invaded, we just look it coldly from the sidelines and then go away. So, the pride become a promotion from luxury. It is much like our new shoes bought from market in our childhood. At the beginning, we treasure them and polish them to keep them clean. If someone tramples our shoes, we will be sad all day. But when the time becomes longer, our patience goes away with time. And the shoes are not clean and neat any more like in the past. Gradually, our pride becomes another a new pair of shoes. Not everyone can become a hero like Santiago, but not everyone’s pride should be trod under foot. Guarding pride is not forcing you to fight against others, but our own attitude is the most important. If you really wanted to protect it and your strategy wasn’t wrong, others would not offend it and the pride would not abandon you.    



The Santiago’s admiration to the Marlin in the sea supports the rule. The relationship between Marlin and Santiago isn’t single, but twofold. On one hand, they are hunter and prey, and it is a dangerous relationship which means either you die or I die. In the end of the book, the fisherman wins. At the same time, it announces he controls it successfully. Naturally, he harvests his glory, and the fish is the glory. Without the fighting, the glory would have not belonged to him. On the other hand, they are not enemies, but friend even relative. He calls the fish “brother” because he appreciates and respects it. He hates the sharks. It is not only because they rob his meat, but the character behind this behavior—gains but no pains. The sharks won’t fight for what they want and keep fighting until they get. But S and Marlin will do it. The former is for pride and life, and the latter is for freedom. Supposed why do you respect from the bottom of your heart? Is power? Or is countless money? Neither. It is the excellent quality that make one person respectable, which you appreciate or you have in common. They are the same type species. Both of them would fight and never give up until death, as he says A man can be destroyed but not defeated. He fights against the cruel sea and huge fish just like it fights against the hook and violent fisherman. This fish is another himself in another world. The Marlin is him, and he is the Marlin.



Fighting is a simple thing, but fighting forever becomes a sticky problem. The old man fights against time in the dream; he fights in real life for pride; he fights in the sea for bad luck. The change of reality and illusion and the collision of the sea and the land don’t change the old man’s decision to fight. His spirit is the most colorful flower in the garden, the cleanest water in the stream and the most nutritious part in an apple. It encourages people to fight whoever you are, a young or an old man, wherever you are, developing countries or developed countries. Only you are an emotional species, you should fight and keep. And it is the most impressive thing to readers. No matter how the time goes, the dust would never lay on the robe of the fighting spirit, and the color would never fade away.


Editor: Xie Di

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