© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea


by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why does the old man kill the fish?
  2. We claimed (quite vehemently) that The Old Man and the Sea is NOT a tragedy. Are we right?
  3. We love the old man’s discussions of how he "went out too far." Probably because it’s cryptic and open to interpretation and involves the ever-fascinating emotion of guilt. What does he have to be guilty for? What sort of "code" did he violate?
  4. Santiago claims that a man can be "destroyed but not defeated." How do we define each of these terms? What’s the difference? Is one more tolerable than the other?
  5. How about the setting? How does the fact that the man is "alone" out on the sea affect the nature of the story?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...