The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea Suffering 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
He was comfortable but suffering, although he did not admit the suffering at all. (3.67)
The old man’s pride comes into play here: because of it, he refuses to acknowledge his pain.
This is the second day now that I do not know the result of the juegos, he thought. But I must have confidence and I must be worthy of the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly even with the pain of the bone spur in his heel. What is a bone spur? he asked himself. Un espuela de hueso. We do not have them. Can it be as painful as the spur of a fighting cock in one’s heel? I do not think I could endure that or the loss of the eye and of both eyes and continue to fight as the fighting cocks do. Man is not much beside the great birds and beasts. Still I would rather be that beast down there in the darkness of the sea. (3.85)
Despite the immensity of his pain, the old man still believes that man is not capable of withstanding suffering as animals are. From here stems his respect for the marlin.
Do you believe the great DiMaggio would stay with a fish as long as I will stay with this one? he thought. I am sure he would and more since he is young and strong. Also his father was a fisherman. But would the bone spur hurt him too much?
"I do not know," he said aloud. "I never had a bone spur." (3.87, 3.88)
The old man compares his pain to that of DiMaggio; yet he never assumes equality with his hero, admitting humbly that he doesn’t know the magnitude of DiMaggio’s pain.