The Old Man and the Sea Part IV Summary

     On the third morning the old man noticed the fish was beginning to circle, slow, wide circles around the boat, but the old man was able to pull in some of the line nonetheless. The exertion of pulling in the line made black spots appear before the old man's eyes, and he worried that he might faint. Finally, the old man was able to reel him in to within thirty yards of the boat. He clearly saw the fish and the two gray sucking fish that swam with him. After the great fish had circled the boat many times, the old man finally had a clear shot at its heart, so he drove down the harpoon with all the strength that he had left. He watched the fish bleed out into the water.

     Then the old man commenced what he considered to be "slave work," which required him to tie the fish alongside the boat in order to bring him to the shore. He passed the harpoon rope through its gills and out its mouth to tie it to the skiff. The old man estimated that the marlin weighed over fifteen hundred pounds, which at thirty cents a pound would fetch him quite a sum of money. Once the fish was attached, the man knew that the wind would take him in a southwest direction, so he let the current be his guide.

     He had hooked a patch of Gulf weed earlier, so he shook it out and ate the tiny shrimps that were caught inside. The man took a small drink of the two sips that remained of his water supply then soaked his hands again in the sea. A shark picked up the scent of the blood as they sailed and began to follow the boat. The shark eventually rose to take a big bite out of the marlin's tail when the old man drove the harpoon right into the top of the shark's head. The shark spun causing the rope to circle around him then sank as he died. The man estimated the shark took about forty pounds off the marlin, along with his harpoon, and the rest of his rope. Plus, the marlin was bleeding once again, which would attract more sharks.

     The old man often wondered what Joe DiMaggio would think of what he had done. He hoped DiMaggio would be impressed by his strength and skill as he was impressed by DiMaggio's baseball prowess. He decided to lash his knife to the butt of one of his oars to create a new harpoon should he need it. Then he thought about sin and wondered if it was a sin to kill a fish. The man tore off a piece from the marlin and ate it. He was pleased at how good it was and knew it would bring him the highest price.

     After a couple hours he noticed two shovel-nosed sharks heading toward him. The one fish swam under the skiff, but the other came up for a bite, so the old man used his newly fashioned harpoon to stab him twice in the head before the shark sank down and died. Next, the old man turned the boat so that the second shark, who had been eating from underneath him, rose to the surface. The old man repeatedly stabbed him with the knife, even once hitting his eye, but the shark would not let go. The old man got a clean shot into his brain, and the shark began to plummet. Unfortunately, these two fish took about a quarter of the marlin off with their strong appetites.

Related Links:

The Old Man and the Sea Part IV Quiz
The Old Man and the Sea Part V Summary
The Old Man and the Sea Part I Summary
The Old Man and the Sea Summary
The Old Man and the Sea Quotes
The Old Man and the Sea Important Characters
The Old Man and the Sea Quiz
Literature Summaries
Ernest Hemingway Facts

To link to this The Old Man and the Sea Part IV Summary page, copy the following code to your site: