An old man, a small skiff (in fact a female one as Mr Hemingway use "her") and the sea. The story began under the mist of dawn.
Without catching any fish within 84 days, the old man was going to break his previous record of 87 days soon under the tough situation, or "bad luck". As an excuse of that, the boy left him, although they love each other sincerely, under the pressure of his parents. That doesn't matter, since the man was alone all the times, maybe because he got used to it, although may not be his will. Or he just had to be.
The sea is as unpredictable as anytime, and the old man knew that. He still believed that his luck was coming right down the road, in spite of suspicion inside. He was not that lonely when he was out of the shore: birds were his brothers, so did flying fish, yellow Sargasso weed and so on and so forth. He even made it to catch a dolphin, or he called "dorado", which did not taste good and made him almost vomit, meanwhile he had no other choice to feed up himself with strength to fight with the big, glorious, brave fish underneath, after he ate up all tuna and the flying fish on the boat.
After the big fish, "Marlin", was hooked, the old man spent another several days to combat with him. Yes. "HIM", a battle between man and man, both physically and spiritually. He acknowledged the beauty, the dignity, the strength, the will of the big fish, but he still wanted to kill it, or the other way around. In that case, only one of them can survive. Finally, the old man won, and enjoyed the triumph while felt a little bit pity that the boy was not with him, and actually he had that feeling all the times since he shipped out of the shore days ago. The fish is too big for him to put on the stern of the skiff, instead, he fastened it alongside the boat.
Maybe it was too early for he to really cheer up. Several sharks came along, following the smell of fresh blood left behind the big fish. The old man fought again, with those cruel and disgusting guys with symbol of fins out of the water. The old man used up all his strength, harpoon, knife, club, everything he could fight back round after round to protect his fish, the really big fish as well as his name "fishman".
When back to his shack in the end, he was that tired, even he didn't realized as he rested for 5 times before he reached his bed. Again, as usual, he slept face down on the newspaper with his arms out straight. The boy came to see him and cried on the way to get him some coffee and food. The tears might not be just for the boy, maybe cried on our behalf as well if we get the same feeling at this point. The old man came back with nothing, just a great long white spine with a hugh tail, lifting and swing with the tide, outside the entrance to the harbor. But he left the story that he made it, wonderful fight, and respect.
Ernest(1899) shared with us this simple story in 1952. And the message is still clear after more than half a century, as stated by the old man when he sat alone in his skiff out the shore, filled with uncertainty, desire, fear, pain, and hope: “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
Thank you, the old man. And wish you the nice dream with the lions.