Ernest Hemingway and Henry ("Mike") Strater with the remaining 500 lbs of an estimated 1000 lb marlin that was half-eaten by sharks before it could be landed in the Bahamas in 1935. See Pilar for details of this episode.
Alone and far out to sea without food, Santiago struggled in a battle of will. But his battle had only begun. As he attempts to return to land with his catch - his first in over 87 days - sharks follow the trail of blood and destroy his "hard fought" prize. But the old man refuses to accept defeat and against all odds battles the forces out to destroy his victory. The story is narrated by an anonymous narrator, but also frequently provides details about Santiago's inner thoughts and dreams. The story is fraught with symbolism about life and dealth and the struggles one must endure. The theme is that there is honor is struggle, defeat and death, and that pride is the source of greatness and determination.