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Monday, August 16, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea: Days Four and Five

The morning of the fourth day wakes Santiago with a start when the marlin jerks him onto the floor of the boat, facedown in the dolphin meat. The line feeds out fast, and the old man instinctively grabs the line and holds on tight with it over his shoulder and across his back. In the first minute of the day, his left hand receives more cuts. Again, Santiago longs for the boy's company and help. In hopes of gaining back some of his strength, Santiago eats the second flying fish. As the sun rises, the hopes of the battle coming to an end rise, and the marlin begins to circle, an obvious sign of weakness and defeat in the fish. For hours, the old man fights with the marlin over every inch of line, allowing the monster to gain a little ground, only to reel it back in plus more when the fish was not paying much attantion. Nearing the point of absolute exhaustion, Santiago begins to see spots and feels dizzy and faint, but he feels the struggle coming to an end in the close future. The fish grows more and more anxious as it rams the boat with its spear. When the enormous marlin passes underneath the boat, Santiago gets a good, upclose view of the giant and adds enough pressure to keep the fish close to the boat. Finally, after three days, the fish comes in close enough to the boat for Santiago to flip it on its side and drive a harpoon through it, causing it to make one last burst out of the water and die in a glorious fashion. With blood pooling around the fish, Santiago pulls the boat up next to the dead carcass, straps the marlin to the side of the boat, and sets a course for home. After only an hour of sailing, a hungry mako shark comes swimming up to the fish, but Santiago is ready for such an attack, driving his harpoon into the shark during its first bite. The shark sinks away, taking the harpoon, the rope, and a mouthful of the marlin. Now, unarmed and with the fish still pouring out blood, Santiago has all but given up. A while later, two more sharks come by to eat, and Santiago fights them away with a makeshift spear he made from a knife lashed onto an oar. After the fish going through so many embarassments, the old man apologizes to it. Santiago feels sick to even think about the mutilated remains of the once beautiful remains of the marlin. Late that night, a pack of sharks arrives, but Santiago is no match for so many sharks in the dark, and they make away with just about all the remains of the carcass. Feeling defeated, Santiago washes into the harbor and carries the mast of the boat up to his house. Once home, he finally is able to get a good night's sleep. Early the following morning, Manolin comes to Santiago's house to peer in the window and, to his relief, see his friend finally safe at home. He goes away to fetch his friend's coffee as fishermen and tourists gather around the boat with the skeletal remains of the marlin still strapped to the side. One fisherman measures the fish to be eighteen feet long, and a passing tourist mistakes the fish for a shark. Santiago awakes to find Manolin there, waiting for him with his hot coffee. They talk about Santiago's adventure for a short while, and Manolin leaves to find food and the newspaper for his old companion. As he goes, Santiago falls asleep again to dream of the lions.

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