At first the end of this book really frustraited me. After all the old man spent a couple days trying to catch this huge fish, and in the midst of his triumph, a few sharks eat it (Hemingway 56). What kind of ending is that? I guess it was used to point out some important themes, most of which I am still trying to decide on.
I think that the most important thing that the ending was pointing out was the old man's endurance. He spends the entire time he is fishing enduring pain and a lack of sleep, and so at the end he eduures the loss of his fish. Even though he has lost the fish, he decides to go fishing again with the boy after his hands get better (Hemingway 59). If the old man had given up after the sharks ate his fish, it would not be much of a story or have much meaning. Because the old man does not give up, the story is worth reading.
It is not as though nothing good happens at the end though. The other fishermen have to respect the old man after they see the fish's bones next to his boat (Hemingway 58). How could they not, after the old man caught it all by himself? More importantly, the boy decides to go fishing the old man again (Hemingway 59). The old man really missed the boy while he was fishing, so it is a good thing they will be fishing together when the old man gets well again.
I am a big believer in happy endings, so you can see why this ending upset me a bit at first. It takes a closer look and a bit of optomism to see it, but I have decided that the end is still fairly happy. Besides, what good is a story if it has absolutely no morals or themes? The old man endured physical pain fishing, and the worst kind of dissapointment when the sharks ate his fish, but he never gave up.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Scribner, 2003. Print.