The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea Defeat Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Day.Paragraph). We artificially created chapters by defining "days," because there are no chapter breaks in The Old Man and the Sea. Here’s how we divided up the days:
- Day 1 = the start of the book until the old man falls asleep for the night
- Day 2 = begins when the old man wakes up and goes until sunrise of the next day
- Day 3 = begins at sunrise and goes until the old man dreams about the lions
- Day 4 = begins when the old man wakes and ends when the old man gets back to his shack for the night
- Day 5 = begins with the boy seeing the old man in the morning and goes until the end of the book
Now they have beaten me, he thought. I am too old to club sharks to death. But I will try it as long as I have the oars and the short club and the tiller. (4.132)
Even when he admits defeat, the old man still continues to try, to struggle.
Now it is over, he thought. They will probably hit me again. But what can a man do against them in the dark without a weapon? (4.161)
The old man recognizes that "it is over" at several different points, yet continues to struggle. This raises the question, when is it actually over?
He knew he was beaten now finally and without remedy and he went back to the stern and found the jagged end of the tiller would fit in the slot of the rudder well enough for him to steer. He settled the sack around his shoulders and put the skiff on her course. He sailed lightly now and he had no thoughts nor any feelings of any kind. He was past everything now and he sailed the skiff to make his home port as well and as intelligently as he could. In the night sharks hit the carcass as someone might pick up crumbs from the table. The old man paid no attention to them and did not pay any attention to anything except steering. He only noticed how lightly and bow well the skiff sailed now there was no great weight beside her. (4.168)
The old man accepts defeat matter-of-factly, without mourning or grief.