->''Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.''

A 1952 {{novella}} by Creator/ErnestHemingway that tells the story of a poor Cuban fisherman of Spanish origins named Santiago who has not caught a fish in several months. He goes out to sea where he hooks a giant marlin, which he fights day and night, eventually catching it. He lashes it to the side of his boat and tries to take it home to sell. Unfortunately, it is eaten by sharks, despite the old man's valiant effort to fight them off. Defeated, the old man walks home and collapses in bed (although it can still be a moral victory, since he's proved that he can still catch fish).

Due to the symbolism, relatively easy prose and short length, ''The Old Man and the Sea'' is a mainstay of [[UsefulNotes/AmericanEducationalSystem high school English courses]], and is perhaps one of the most widely-read books in the United States (at least for people under thirty). It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and pretty much sealed the deal on Hemingway's 1954 UsefulNotes/NobelPrizeInLiterature. It was adapted into a 1958 film with Creator/SpencerTracy, an UsefulNotes/AcademyAward-winning 1999 Russian cartoon, and a 1990 miniseries with Creator/AnthonyQuinn.
!! ''The Old Man and the Sea'' provides examples of:

* AuthorAppeal: Santiago really likes baseball. See GameOfNerds for more info.
%%* BeigeProse: This book basically defines this trope.
%%Don't pothole Badass to this article. I swear to God, I have 15,000 more links to go through, don't make me come back here for Old Man and the Sea.
* BittersweetEnding: Santiago still caught his fish, and he promises his apprentice that they will be able to work together again, however he lost his catch to the sharks and it's left ambiguous as to how truthful he is; he may well soon be dead.
* BrokenAce: The last book Hemingway ever saw published himself was also fittingly his last [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet]] reconstruction of his philosophy of manhood. Santiago catches the fish, but it [[SenselessSacrifice gets eaten by sharks]] and [[spoiler: [[MentorOccupationalHazard it's implied he dies at the end]]]]. Nevertheless, he still passes his lessons on to the boy, and most importantly, [[DoomedMoralVictor the fish never beat him]]. His DoomedMoralVictor status is even cemented by a literary CrucifiedHeroShot.
* CoolOldGuy: Santiago, of course. A lot of his interaction with his apprentice emphasises how much respect they have for each other because of this (contrasting with the apprentice's new employer).
* CrucifiedHeroShot: Santiago has a nail driven into his hand, which is described in a way that it could just as easily be talking about UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} during his Crucifixion.
-->"''Ay''", he said aloud. There is no translation for this word and perhaps it is just a noise such as a man might make, involuntarily, feeling the nail go through his hands and into the wood.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: The marlin earns Santiago's respect due to its strength and will.
* {{Determinator}}: Santiago continuously combated the marlin over the course of two days and two nights without rest, all the while feeling the effects it and age had on his body, including hunger, cramps, and even minor injuries. Even after the fish is caught, Santiago remains determined to protect his catch from sharks, and only stops when he runs out of ways to fight off the sharks (after using a harpoon, and improvised spear made from a knife tied to an oar, a club, and finally the tiller of his boat) and all but the head of the fish has been taken. Keep in mind that this is AFTER going roughly 96 hours without sleep and only a few morsels of fish as sustenance.
** The marlin as well. That's one badass fish to drag the old man that far out to sea.
* DoomedMoralVictor: Santiago wins his fight against the marlin, and in doing so he has made an unforgettable act of fishing, but the effects of being stranded at sea for ''days'' exposed to the elements, with very little food, water and sleep, and having exhausted himself beyond belief with all of the constant struggling, he's so exhausted that the feverish dreaming he's having at the end may or may not be his DyingDream.
* DuelToTheDeath: Santiago comes to realize that this is essentially what his situation with the marlin has become when it starts to circle. He muses why it has to be this way, in one of the biggest NotSoDifferent moments between he and the fish.
* ImprovisedWeapon: After Santiago loses his harpoon, he makes a new one by strapping his knife to the end of an oar. When the knife breaks, he fights the sharks with a club, until he loses that too. Then, he takes out the tiller of the boat, and beats the last shark to death with it.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Santiago muses about how he used to be an extremely strong and muscular sailor.
* ManlyTears: The boy cries when he sees the old man's injured hands.
* TheMentor: The old man to the boy. [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Fittingly]].
* MinimalistCast: There are only two important (human) characters, the old man and the boy. For most of the story, it's just Santiago out alone at the sea. A few other people briefly appear at the end.
* NotSoDifferent: Santiago and the marlin, {{Determinator}} vs. {{Determinator}}. Santiago acknowledges this throughout the latter half of the story.
** By extension of this, the ''galanos'' are this to the younger generation of fishermen in some interpretations.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: Of a sort. Santiago for the most part is the standard Hemingway protagonist, i.e. [[TheAce a competent]], [[DuelToTheDeath utterly determined]] [[BadassNormal paragon of manliness]]. But he's also an old man. Hemingway was starting to age around the time he wrote Old Man, and it came right after he wrote ''Across the River and into the Trees''[[labelnote:*]] Which Hemingway [[MagnumOpusDissonance actually considered]] his masterpiece[[/labelnote]], a book which got significant bad press. In a way, Santiago is probably something of a reflection upon the way Hemingway felt about himself.
* ShaggyDogStory: Santiago spends the better part of the book fighting the great fish; he finally catches it, and then it's eaten by sharks.
* TaxonomicTermConfusion: The old man catches a fish known as "Dolphin Fish", and calls it only "dolphin" throughout the book.
* ThankYourPrey: Santiago remembers when he and his apprentice did this. Although it was more along the lines of an apology.
* ThreateningShark: Many of these end up devouring the Marlin after Santiago finally catches it, leaving only the head and the skeleton.
%%* WorthyOpponent: The marlin.
%%** The first shark might count too.