Themes and Important Topics: The Old Man And the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Theme of Perseverance in Old Man and the sea:

One of the major themes of the novel is perseverance and sticking to one's goals. Santiago does not give in despite the worst circumstances that are wielding an influence no less than havoc on the life of Santiago. It is this perseverance which helps him beat the mighty fish.

Theme of Weakness in Old Man and the Sea:

Though "man is not made for defeat" yet he is vulnerable and the might of nature is free to uproot all the claims of success that man may go boasting about. The novel, though optimistic, carries a deep ray of pessimism about the strength of nature which possesses man and his being so entirely that it can crush man and his success instantly.

The Importance of 'Will' and determination in The Old Man and the Sea

Above all, it is the will of man which matters and not the physical might. Santiago is weak and mild before the unchainable forces of nature which are always thwarting whatever man may strive to build on. But Santiago remains successful in proving that despite making certain mistakes like going into the deep sea and sticking to a big marlin in the wilderness of wild sea, he still remains successful in hooking it. It is sheer example of his will rather than physical might.

Optimism and virility in the Old Man and the Sea

Hemingway wishes to hint that man's situation, though unstable and subject to the mood of hostile nature around, is still full of hope and felicity as long as man is determined to endure and show positive attitude. We may refer to Santiago's words: "And pain does not matter to a man." The theme of enduring pain is the direct outcome of courage, bravery and virility.