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Monday, August 16, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea: Day Three

At the beginning of day three of the story, Santiago is still locked with the marlin over control of the line. A small bird comes in, presumably after a long night of flying over the ocean, and rests on the line connecting Santiago and the marlin. Since the bird decides to stay for a while to rest its tired wings, Santiago quickly creates a friendship with the bird and strikes up a friendly "conversation." The man guesses this to be the bird's first long trip and warns the bird of the dangers of the hawks it will meet when it flies closer to shore. He advises the bird to rest up well before he makes the final journey into the land. Without warning, the marlin makes a quick surge which nearly throws Santiago overboard and causes the man's new companion to fly away. As he regains control of the line, Santiago notices deep cuts in his hands from where the line had been sitting when the fish lurched and that they are bleeding. Knowing that he must keep his strength up, the old man forces himself to eat some of the raw tuna he caught the previous day. As he cuts and eats the small fish with his right hand, his left hand turns into a sort of claw and cramps up under the immense strain of the weight of the fish's pull. Santiago becomes angry with his hand for its inabilities and frustrated with the pathetic weakness of his own body, but he hopes the nourishing tuna will allow the weakness to relenquish the grip on his left hand. As he eats the raw fish meat, he almost feels rude for not offering any to the fish below, using so much energy to pull the boat. Still waiting for the cramp in his hand to loosen, Santiago notices the direction and angle of the line beginning to change. To the clever fisherman, this is a telltale sign that the fish is about to surface, revealing itself to the man, finally. Suddenly, the fish leaps out of the water, allowing the man to see it for the first time; Santiago realizes it is much larger than he has ever seen, probably at least two feet longer than his miserable boat. He also realizes the beauty and valor of the fish and vows never to let the fish gain knowledge of its own strengths. Just as suddenly as it appeared, the fish races back down to the depths of the ocean to pull the boat some more. In the downtime, Santiago baits another line in hopes of catching another meal for himself. As the day continues, he questions himself for seeking the death of such a noble combatant and finally justifies the decision. Then, when day turns to night, he wonders how the great Joe DiMaggio and the Yankees did that day, and he thinks of how DiMaggio has played through bone spurs. Altough he is unsure of what a bone spur is, Santiago imagines it to be excruciatingly painful and compares his ordeal to the bone spurs of DiMaggio. Just before night totally takes over, a dolphin snags the second line he baited earlier that day, and he reels it in with a bonus: the dolphin's stomach contains two flying fish. As night falls, Santiago decides to rest with the line over his back instead of in his hands. After two hours of rest, the tired man falls asleep to dream of dolphins, a storm, and his beautiful lions in Africa.

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