The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea Suffering Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
He could not see the fish’s jumps but only heard the breaking of the ocean and the heavy splash as he fell. The speed of the line was cutting his hands badly but he had always known this would happen and he tried to keep the cutting across the calloused parts and not let the line slip into the palm nor cut the fingers. (4.3)
The old man doesn’t avoid injury because of pain; rather he is concerned for the functionality of his body. Pain doesn’t even factor into the equation here.
After he judged that his right hand had been in the water long enough he took it out and looked at it. "It is not bad," he said. "And pain does not matter to a man." (4.8, 4.9) I must hold his pain where it is, he thought. Mine does not matter. I can control mine. But his pain could drive him mad. (4.29)
The old man later answers his question about pain, suggesting that man’s superiority to beast is his ability to withstand pain.
He took all his pain and what was left of his strength and his long gone pride and he put it against the fish’s agony and the fish came over onto his side and swam gently on his side, his bill almost touching the planking of the skiff and started to pass the boat, long, deep, wide, silver and barred with purple and interminable in the water. (4.64)
Interestingly, the man uses his pain as a weapon, just as he uses his strength.