* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway

Hunger Theme

The old man is almost superhuman in his eating patterns. He never professes hunger, despite eating very little or not at all. For him, eating is not about pleasure, but is instead a painful act that he must endure for strength. The old man does at one point refer to hunger as pain, but in terms of the fish’s hunger, not his own.

Questions About Hunger

  1. What’s up with the old man not eating? What effect does it have on the way we view him?
  2. OK, so we get that the old man isn’t hungry for food. But is he hungry for something else?
  3. Why does the old man eat?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In many ways, the old man is an ascetic. His "religion," then, is explored as the story progresses.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Noodle's College Search