The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway was published in 1952. This was the last major work of fiction that Hemingway wrote. The Old Man and the Sea was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953. Hemingway received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.
This particular novel holds a special place in my heart. When I was just a wee little worm, I was in the hospital having my tonsils removed. It was late and I was unable to sleep one night. The midnight movie was…. that’s right you guessed it…The Old Man and the Sea. Now we all know that television never compares to the actual book, but the movie inspired me to read this novel later in life.
The Old Man and the Sea | story
The old man and the sea focus’s on an aging fisherman named Santiago and his battle with a great marlin. The story tells how Santiago is having an unlucky streak. For eighty-four days, he is unable to catch any fish. Santiago has a young devoted apprentice who is forbidden by his parents to fish with Santiago and told to fish with one of the other more prosperous fisherman. The young apprentice Manolin, is very loyal and devoted to Santiago and upon returning each night helps the old man by carrying his gear and mast to a ramshackle hut. Santiago and his young friend and apprentice talk about ,“American baseball” and Joe DiMaggio, who is Santiago’s hero. Santiago tells his young friend that he is sure his unlucky streak is coming to an end and he is going to sail farther than usual to the north to the Gulf Stream.
It is now the eighty-fifth day and Santiago sails north to the deeper waters of the Gulf stream. By noon Santiago hooks a large fish, one hundred fathoms deep. He knows it’s a marlin. Santiago is afraid if he ties the line to his boat, the line may snap if the marlin tries to run. Instead, Santiago wraps the line around his body and uses his shoulder and hands to allow the line slack when the large marlin tries to run.
The marlin swims north east for a day and a night pulling Santiago and his skiff. The marlin begins to tire and pulls the small skiff east following the current. Santiago’s body bares the weight of the line and each time the marlin pulls, lunges and leaps for freedom the line cuts into Santiago. Santiago begins to have a deep empathy for the large fish calling him “his brother in suffering”.
Finally on the third day aching and nearly delirious, the fish tires and Santiago is able to pull the marlin close enough to his skiff and kill the fish with his harpoon. This is the largest marlin Santiago has ever seen in his life. After lashing the marlin to his skiff Santiago heads for home. Santiago is excited about the price the large marlin will bring at the market place, but at the same time expresses his concerns that the people that eat the fish are unworthy of it greatness.
As Santiago sails for home the large marlin is leaving a trail of blood which attracts sharks. The first shark to attack is a great mako shark. Santiago manages to defeat and kill the shark, but loses his harpoon in the process. Lashing his knife to an oar Santiago continues to fight off more shark attacks. Santiago kills five sharks and drives away many others but the attacks just keep coming.
And…you’ll have to read the book to know the rest. 🙂
Hemingway | The Old Man and the Sea
I really enjoyed this novel, and if you have not read it, it’s a must read. I feel the book is an awesome parallel to the courage we all must have as we struggle to face obstacle in our lives. Santiago, shows us that courage, honor and respect are lessons we should not forget to teach our children, especially in this modern world.
Unfortunately, through our courageous struggle we need to be aware that the outcome may not be what we hope for. We must never give up, though, no matter how difficult the fight or overwhelming the odds.
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