Many themes are present in Hemmingway's novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway uses wonderful imagery and symbolism to illustrate the struggles of the old man and the fish throughout the story. "Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated." "'But man is not made for defeat,' he said. 'A man can be destroyed but not defeated.'" In each of these quotes Hemingway is saying that man can be beaten but not overpowered.
The old man is a representation of a human. A parallel of the struggle Santiago went through could be experienced by anyone. The marlin is symbolic of the force pulling against him. The great fish is almost like his competitor; he has respect for it, but also wants to overcome it. The sea is a vast playing field on which the struggle takes place, but is also the get away or safe haven for the old man to which he looks towards as a good place. The reference to the bright "cheerful" sea-colored eyes leads the reader to believe that the sea is a place that makes the old man happy. It is a positive comparison showing his love of the sea and also of the struggle upon it. The sharks represent an outside force that can't be helped. The sharks are a symbol of life's mishaps that have no explanation and come about at the worst times.
Manolin, the boy, is the old man's outside support, his purpose. Manolin is the parent that always screams from the sidelines at important and not important soccer games, the friend that attends every piano recital, even though they hate classical music. Manolin is the old man's encouragement, strength, and his reinforcement. Although the old man suffered much loss and bad luck, his eyes still shone bright with hope and determination.
"Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready." Hemmingway is saying that it is better to be ready for what will come than to sit back and wait for something to happen.