Old Man and the Sea: Top Ten Quotes

On September
“The month when the great fish come. Anyone can be a fisherman in May” (18).

On life at sea
“Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel? She is kind and very beautiful. But she can be so cruel and it comes so suddenly and such birds that fly, dipping and hunting, with their small sad voices are made too delicately for the sea” (29).

On his great marlin
“Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends” (54).

On man vs. nature
“The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.” (61)

On the hunter and the hunted
“If I were him I would put in everything now and go until something broke. But, thank God, they are not as intelligent as we who kill them; although they are more noble and more able.” (63)

On brotherhood
“It is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers” (75).

On mortality
“Fish, you are going to have to die anyway. Do you have to kill me too?” (92).

On resilience
“I think the great DiMaggio would be proud of me today. I had no bone spurs….I wonder what a bone spur is. Maybe we have them without knowing of it” (97).

On Human
“A man can be destroyed but not defeated” (103).

On Final
“They beat me, Manolin,” he said. “They truly beat me.” “He didnt beat you. Not the fish.” “No. Truly. It was afterwards” (124).