The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway

Reader-Response Questions
by Ron Weightman

Contact Mr. Defer for the answers.


Synopsis + Gallery:



  1. What were on the back of the old man's neck?
  2. Who made the boy leave the old man (Santiago)?
  3. The successful fishermen of the day caught what type of fish? A) halibut B) marlin C) shark D) salmon
  4. On his first fishing expedition at the age of five, the boy got what splattered on him?
  5. What were sardines used for?
  6. What, besides strength, did the old man possess, giving him confidence about catching a truly big fish?
  7. What temptations were stored at night? A) gaff and harpoon B) beer and smokes C) the day's catch D) club and knife
  8. What picture was relocated and why?
  9. What team did Santiago like?
  10. Why were neck wrinkles less visible?
  11. What was the real dinner?
  12. TF: The old man's beer was delivered in Santiago's container of choice.
  13. According to the old man, who held the Yankees together?
  14. McGraw gambled on what?
  15. What new quality did Santiago possess for the eventual big catch?
  16. Who tended to sleep late and hard?
  17. What two things did the old man dream of instead of the myriad of options?
  18. TF: Coffee was a luxury that had to be foresaken.
  19. Before sliding the skiff into the water, how did Santiago feel about fishing today?
  20. Name three types of fish in the great well.
  21. Santiago referred to the sea using what feminine name?
  22. The old man thought the big one might be with what schools of fish?
  23. The two deepest lines had what type of bait?
  24. How were Santiago's lines hung differently than other fishermen's lines?
  25. A man-of-war bird was as useful as a what? A) compass B) watch C) radio D) companion
  26. TF: The speed of the dolphin depressed the old man.
  27. Plankton meant what?
  28. Santiago called what fish "'You whore'"?
  29. What fish was a predator to agua mala?
  30. Comparing his heart to that of a turtle underscored what about the old man? A) longevity B) resilience C) endurance D) serenity
  31. How was Santiago kind toward the baby ten-pound tuna? A) He returned him to the Gulf. B) He removed the hook quickly. C) He shot it. D) He clubbed it.
  32. Not to talk unnecessarily at sea was considered a virtue.
  33. What were deep prisms in the blue water?
  34. What fish began to nibble at the bait?
  35. What bad memory did the old man postulate, accounting for the fish's hesitancy?
  36. Santiago imagined the tuna at what angle in the fish's mouth?
  37. Where did the old man petition the point of the hook to reside?
  38. For whose presence did the old man wish?
  39. "'It is he that has the hook in his mouth.'"
  40. The old man and fish were in a what? A) situation B) stalemate C) secure zone D) sweet struggle
  41. Santiago wished for all of the following, except: A) radio B) boy C) scores D) purpose
  42. The old man recounted the steadfast loyalty of whom?
  43. Santiago and the fish were joined together by what? A) choice B) chance C) coercion D) corruption
  44. Which occurred first? A) self-examination about his chosen profession B) tending the other lines C) the old man's cut from a sudden lurch D) thoughts of warm tortillas with melted butter
  45. Turning with the current indicated what?
  46. How would jumping help the old man?
  47. How did weed help Santiago's cause?
  48. TF: Love and respect for his friend diminished Santiago's resolve to kill the fish.
  49. Where was the old man's second cut?
  50. Santiago dutifully and obligatorily ate the tuna for which hand?
  51. Which measure was not contemplated to loosen the cramp? A) the boy B) the sun C) the tuna D) slapping E) ice
  52. Why was no man ever alone on the sea?
  53. How long was the marlin?
  54. What simile was used to depict the tightness of the old man's left hand?
  55. What was bad news for the marlin? A) added will B) added intelligence C) added strength D) attacking dolphins
  56. TF: Santiago relied on past proof of being a good fisherman and therefore kept personal former glory in his mind as a good friend.
  57. What would spoil the contest between the old man and his fish?
  58. What was the hand game?
  59. Who won the rematch between Santiago and his opponent?
  60. What had always been a traitor to the old man?
  61. TF: Santiago let the dolphin float outside the skiff to create a drag for the sword fish.
  62. How did the old man win the war of sustenance?
  63. Why were "people" not worthy of eating the fish on Santiago's line?
  64. Santiago realized he was void of what essential need?
  65. Upon gutting the dolphin, what was discovered?
  66. After the old man commented on the tired or restful state of his catch, how much of the dolphin fillet did he ingest?
  67. What best reduced punishment on the sea? A) preparation B) salt C) lime D) hindsight
  68. Of what did Santiago not dream? A) lions B) bed C) porpoise D) a Yankee victory
  69. Why was the old man's face in the cut slice of dolphin?
  70. What advantage would Santiago have if the marlin circled?
  71. "'And pain does not matter to a man.'"
  72. What risk surrounded consuming more dolphin for nourishment and strength?
  73. How did Santiago release more line?
  74. What promise was made to God?
  75. TF: The old man succumbed to the "great temptation."
  76. The proposed target of the old man's harpoon was what?
  77. What turnabout occurred as the marlin circled?
  78. Give an example of unclear thinking?
  79. Why was the silver belly up?
  80. Why did the old man have to bind the marlin to the skiff?
  81. Why give two similes for the detachment of the marlin's eye?
  82. At thirty cents a pound, how much would two-thirds of a fifteen-hundred fish be worth?
  83. As they sailed homeward, what question did Santiago ponder?
  84. What drew the shark toward the skiff?
  85. TF: Resolution to kill the shark and protect his catch filled the old man with hope.
  86. Before being killed, what damage did the shark do?
  87. How did Santiago compare himself to DiMaggio?
  88. TF: The old man was content to stop thinking about sin and leave it to those paid to do so.
  89. What type of sharks were closing in on Santiago's marlin?
  90. What was the fate of the two poaching sharks?
  91. Which did not occur? A) The old man apologized to the marlin. B) Santiago wished he could sharpen his knife. C) The fourth shark snapped the old man's knife. D) Santiago used his secret weapon and batted the sharks with DiMaggio's favorite stick.
  92. How could Santiago and the marlin have fought the shark in brotherhood?
  93. What gave the old man "the pain of life" at a time when he felt dead and defeated?
  94. Which occurred last? A) spitting into the ocean and commanding the shark to dream of killing a man B) noticing how easy the skiff steered C) losing his club D) kissing the marlin good night
  95. The posture of Santiago sleeping face down with arms outward and palms up alluded to what historic death?
  96. How long was the marlin?
  97. What was the first topic of discussion between the boy and Santiago?
  98. Why was the old man reluctant to fish with the boy again?
  99. What evidence indicated that Santiago would be better prepared next time?
  100. Which did not occur? A) The boy remained loyal. B) Pedrico was a beneficiary of Santiago's blood and sweat. C) Visitors ate sushi with a new appreciation. D) Old newspapers were valuable to Santiago.

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Mr. Ronald Weightman

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