According to Hemingway, he did not intend symbolism in his book, "The Old Man and the Sea." But, despite this, many experts and analysts claim that the novelette is overflowing with it. For the purpose of analyzing the title of this book lets assume the experts are correct, that the book is full of symbolism, and attempt to find this symbolism in the books title.
Though I was asked to analyze the all of the words in the title, I think it would be frivolous to analyze "The" so I will start with "Old." "Old" in this novel more represents experienced then weak. But, in away, it does show weakness. It shows the weakness of humanity, stripped, against the elements.
The word "Man" directly relates to the word "Old"; not only to express that is an old human, but also how this human represents the whole of humanity, all of "man." This book deals with issues all "men" deal with, such as the struggle for something greater, "the grass is always greener on the other side.".
Taking the words in order and skipping "and" and "the" the next word we arrive at to analyze is "Sea." In this story, the "sea" can be interpreted to have two completely different but connected meanings, well, three if you count Hemingway's non-symbolic definition. The first sets the "Sea" as a lover to Santiago. Like a woman it is enigmatic, gives and takes, and completely fills Santiago's thoughts. The other definition defines the "Sea" as the world. In it a man feels small and insignificant but has a drive to explore it. The definitions are connected, because in a way the world is like a woman. Both are mysterious and easy to be enthralled by.
The title, as whole, I think represents the weakness of man against something bigger and more powerful. Somewhat like, "hay in a needle stack" man is surrounded with dangerous things that greatly outnumber him. Yet man goes on and perseveres. I think all these things can be seen in the title.