Interpretation (Choose 2)
1. Make a list of events in the story and place them into groups of events which
seem to belong together. Explain why you have chosen the arrangement, and give
each "chapter" a title.
2. If The Old Man And The Sea had been written only in the first person (if the old man were a narrator and our only source of information), how would that have changed the story and its
3. Is the story of The Old Man and the Sea believable? Explain why or why not.
4. What does the setting add to the story? Why was it not set in a modern port?
5. Are the characters in The Old Man And The Sea stereotypes? If so, explain the usefulness of employing stereotypes in The Old Man And The Sea. If they are not, explain how they merit individuality.
6. The Old Man And The Sea is a very short novel. Could anything have been gained by
including more scenes from the time before or after the events of the story? If so, what could
have been added and for what purpose? If not, explain why not.
7. What are the conflicts in the story and how are they resolved?
Critical (Choose 2)
8. Explain why the old man goes for the fish and stays with it until he brings
the carcass to port
even though he put himself at great risk to do so.
9. Describe Hemingway's writing style.
10. Compare Santiago to the marlin.
11. Compare and contrast Santiago and DiMaggio.
12. What function does the character of Manolin serve in the novel?
13. List several religious references in the story and explain why Hemingway chose this imagery.
14. Does Santiago undergo any type of change during the story? If so, what? If not, give possible reasons why he does not.
15. Explore the idea of nobility in the story.
Personal Response (Choose 2)
16. Suppose Santiago would tell about the events of this story a few years after
What do you think he would say?
17. Would you like to be a fisherman like Santiago? Explain why or why not.
18. Why is this story titled The Old Man and the Sea instead of The Old Man and the Fish?
19. Will Santiago go after a big fish again? Explain why or why not.
20. A great deal of the book is spent describing in detail the old man's fight with the fish: an
emotional and physical battle of almost epic proportions. Yet, when the old man returns, the
whole experience is trivialized by the woman and her male companion, and life goes on
pretty much as usual. This profound experience seems to have no profound consequences.