Literapedia Book Notes for

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway


  • Santiago (day 1)—an old, experianced, and poor fisherman who has gone 84 days without catching a fish, loves baseball, especially DiMaggio, misses his dead wife, and has recurring dreams about lions.
  • Manolin (day 1)—a boy, the best friend of Santiago, who learned everything he knows about fishing from Santiago but left to work on a more successful boat after 40 days of no fish with Santiago.
  • Martin (day 1)—a cafe owner who gives food to Santiago via Manolin.
  • DiMaggio (day 1)—Santiago's favorite professional baseball player, and his father was a fisherman.
  • The Fish (day 2)—The fish that pulls Santiago out to sea for days, a large marlin.

Day Summaries

  1. Santiago and Manolin talk while Manolin helps him haul in his stuff. Manolin mentions that he could help out Santiago again since he has made some money, mentioning Santiago's previous 87 day bad luck spree. Manolin buys Santiago a beer and gets him some bait for the next day. Manolin brings Santiago food donated from Martin, then leaves Santiago for the night.
  2. Very early the boy (Manolin) helps Santiago off to sea. Santiago goes far out to thge deeper waters. He thinks of the sea as a wild tempered woman. he sets his baits and keeps them at certain depths with perfection. He catches a tuna to use as bait and realizes he talks to himself because he is lonely. He finally gets a bite on his deepest line and starts getting pulled out to sea. The fish does not give up and neither does he, unable to reel him in for fear of breaking the line.
  3. Santiago's left hand gets cut and cramps badly as he is forced to eat yesterday's tuna to stay strong. The fish jumps and Santiago sees its enormous size. After another full day he baits a line to catch another meal. He hopes the fish does not learn of its own strength. Santiago thinks of DiMaggio to gain confidence, and recalls an intense arm wrestling match he had once. he catches a dolphin and sleeps and dreams of the lions.
  4. The fish jerks and wakes him up. he wishes the boy were here. The fish begins to circle and he begins to slowly gain line, while seeing spots and getting dizzy. he pulls the fish beside the boat and harpoons it. A shark arrives, is killed, but takes 40lbs of fish with him. Two more sharks arrive and take a quarter of the marlin with it. Santiago apologizes to the fish. More sharks arrive and take more fish while Santiago loses weapons, energy, and hope. The marlin is picked clean. He arrives home very late and with considerable effert gets his equipment home alone.
  5. Manolin comes early to find Santiago and cries. When Manolin goes to get coffee for him, he sees the poeple gathered around the skeleton tied to the skiff. Santiago is nursed back to health by Manolin and dozes off to dream about the lions.

Book Note Creator

Andrew Burks, '08