Literature-In-English Paper 2 May/June 2015

Question 8

     The Old Man and the Sea

Comment on the significance of Santiago’s dream about the lions.


Very few candidates attempted this question. The few who answered it did not meet its demands.

The following points were expected from the candidates:

  • Santiago dreams of the lion as he departs on his three day fishing expedition. He sees the similarity between the cubs and his boy, Manolin. He loves them as he loves Manolin because they are youthful and are a sign of great things to come.
  • He dreams of them again as he sleeps in the boat for a few hours during his battle with the ferocious fish, the marlin. This time they appear as adults.
  • He dreams of them at the end of the story. Their significance at a time that the old man appears to have been finally defeated is that there are still promises of regeneration and renewal, particularly because Manolin comes into the picture to rescue his master.
  • The sombre atmosphere at the end of the novel is reinforced by the final image of the lions to suggest the interplay of destruction and renewal in the story of the protagonist.

    Candidates’ performance in this question was poor.