Monday, December 10, 2012

Reading: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway was assigned for me to read this semester in a Modern American Novel class.  I had never read anything from Hemingway before but, being apart of the public school system, I had heard A LOT about him and was anxious to read his work.  I had this goal over the summer that I would read all of the books that were assigned to me for the Fall semester but this did not happen.  I only read one book and that was, The Old Man and the Sea.  I read it right when I returned from a cruise vacation.  Although the book is small and seems like it would be a quick read, I found it to be longer than expected and tedious.  The story was interesting but I was not sure how this book could be considered a classic.  I spoke my opinions out to my parents and my dad, who is not a literary scholar type man at all, pointed out that the book is not supposed to be what most people think.  It is a book about reflection and it is simple.  These words made me appreciate the book more.
The book centers around an old man named Santiago and it has been days since he has caught a fish.  Fishing is his life and so every day he goes out to the water and today is his lucky day.  A fish bites his line and begins to pull Santiago’s boat.  He pulls the boat all the way out to sea and the story centers on Santiago’s inner thoughts for three days at sea.  The sea is very lonely and isolated which symbolizes Santiago at this stage in life - an old man with no one. When Santiago finds an opening to sleep, he dreams of powerful lions that symbolize his yearn to be young and whole again.  Santiago has been dubbed by Christian scholars as a Christ-figure and at first I too sort of saw a small resemblance but after finishing the novel I would have to disagree completely.  The fact of the matter is, Christ died to save the world from sin.  Santiago symbolically died but for his own achievements and gains.  Christ was destroyed but not defeated.  He rose from the dead.  Santiago returns destroyed and defeated.
The book was good but I still think it was a bit blah.  Overall I really enjoyed how reflective it was but in terms of characters and themes, there was not much.  I will give the book a 3 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. This is a story of an old man who hasn’t been able to catch a fish for last 84 days. People start calling him “Salao”, worst form of unluck and make fun of him. A young boy believes in him and goes to fishing with man as he believes there’s a lot to learn from old man. Although he has to go for fishing with some other guys at end because of his parent’s will but he’s unhappy about decision and wants to be with old man. On 85th day old man goes alone and he catches a fish (which turns out to be a giant fish). Story turns around then when man has to spend 3 days in water and fish is not giving up to be caught. Old man eats small fish this time and he gets bruises in his hands. He thinks he’s going crazy and asks to be clear in head. He has slept very less. He talks to fish and consider him brother. How old man saves himself and fish from sharks.
    To me this is a story where author has tried to explain how we constantly keep on fighting and explaining our inner friend/enemy. Where we explain why we did this, especially wrong and how much it matters to our lives. This is not just about my happiness or your hurt but many others whom we are treating.