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The Old Man and the Sea


Day Four

Summary Day Four

After the arrival of the mako shark, Santiago seems preoccupied with the notion of hope. Hope is shown to be a necessary component of endurance, so much so that the novella seems to suggest that endurance can be found wherever pain and hope meet. As Santiago sails on while the sharks continue to attack his catch, the narrator says that Santiago “was full of resolution but he had little hope”; later, the narrator comments, “He hit [the shark] without hope but with resolution.” But without hope Santiago has reason neither to fight the sharks nor to return home. He soon realizes that it is silly not to hope, and he even goes so far as to consider it a sin. Ultimately, he overcomes the shark attack by bearing it. The poet and critic Delmore Schwartz regards The Old Man and the Sea as a dramatic development in Hemingway’s career because Santiago’s “sober hope” strikes a sort of compromise between youthful naïveté and the jadedness of age. Before the novella, Hemingway had given the world heroes who lived either shrouded by illusions, such as Nick Adams in “Indian Camp,” or crushed by disillusionment, such as Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms.