How many days did it take Santiago to catch a fish, in the novel 'The Old Man and the Sea'?
'The Old Man and the Sea' is a novel, written by Ernest Hemingway, published in 1952. It won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1953) and a Noble Prize in Literature (1954). Hemingway (1899-1961) was an American journalist, novelist and sportsman.
It tells the story of a battle between an aging fisherman, Santiago, and a large marlin. The story opens with Santiago having gone 84 days without catching a fish. He tells his young apprentice Manolin, that tomorrow he will venture into the Gulf Stream, north of Cuba in the Straits of Florida to fish.
On the 85th day, he takes his skiff into the Gulf Stream, sets his lines, and by noon, has his bait taken by a marlin. For 2 days and nights he holds on to the line and on the 3rd day, (85+3= 88 days to catch the fish) the fish begins to circle the skiff. Santiago eventually pulls the fish on its side and stabs the marlin with a harpoon.
Sharks attracted by the marlin's blood, attack the skiff, eventually eating the marlin, leaving Santiago with only a skeleton consisting of its backbone, tail and head. Knowing he is defeated, Santiago tells the sharks they have killed his dreams. Upon reaching the shore before dawn, Santiago retreats to his shack, leaving the fish remains on the shore. Once home, he slumps onto his bed and falls into a deep sleep.
Fishermen gather on the shore, measure the remains from nose to tail (18 feet or 5.5 m) and express their sorrow to Manolin who shares these sentiments with Santiago.