The “sharks” are planning to hurt him and Santiago just notices it. These sharks are symbolic to Ernest’s problems and demons as an author, as they were much like “sharks” in the fact that they caused him a lot of trouble and worry. A few of these “sharks” were his parents and his poorly received book “Across the River and Into the Trees. ” For example, Hemingway’s parents did not want him to become a writer. They wanted him to go to college and pursue a different path.
His parents were like the “sharks” because just like how the sharks were trying to eat the old man, his parents were “eating” his plans and future. The critics of his were also “sharks. ” Hemingway’s critics were not exactly the nicest to him about his book “Across the River and Into the Trees. ” “However, O'Hara's was one of the few good reviews, with negative reviews appearing in more than 150 publications. Critics claimed the novel was too emotional, had inferior prose and a "static plot", and that Cantwell was an "avatar" for Hemingway's character Nick Adams. (Wikipedia) Hemingway’s books are symbolic to his life, and for it to be criticized as too emotional, boring, and like a bad autobiography can be taken to heart. The critics were “sharks” because they had no mercy with Hemingway, they ate up prey (beat his book to the ground) and left nothing behind, which is cruel to his artistry and his pride. The above clearly shows that Hemingway had to deal with “sharks” as a writer, which were his parents and his critics.