I was forced to read “The Old Man and The Sea“for an English class in college. I knew the basic concept of the book – an old man catches a big fish all alone on the sea. This basic premise did not intrigue me enough to read the book even though it was Ernest Hemingway.
But like I said, I was forced to read it for an English class and I dreaded the assignment. Now that I have read the book, I am sorry I waited so long to read it. The book put me in the mind of the movie “Castaway” where a man is ship wrecked on a deserted island. I wondered how a book, or even a movie for that matter, could hold your attention for very long when it is basically about one man’s survival against nature.
Hemingway created a character, Santiago, who is endeared into our heart that you cannot help reading to see exactly what this man has to endure to catch his fish. And I have learned there is more to the book than capturing a fish.
Even though this book is about one man’s struggle against a huge fish, Hemingway keeps his readers engaged and connected to the main character like an old friend. The little boy, Santiago’s friend and sometime fishing partner, is so endearing that you just want to hug him to death.
I believe everyone has heard of Ernest Hemingway even if they have not read any of his work. I was one of those people until I was forced to read one of his compositions. I now understand why he is heralded in the literary world. His writing style and attention to details make the book come alive for the reader. His characters are lovable, believable and realistic. I will not pass up an opportunity to read another work by this gifted man.
I am probably the only English Literature major who was forced to read Hemingway. This book, “The Old Man and The Sea,” was the last great writing by Hemingway after a lengthy absence from writing. It is a great book and a must read for everyone even if you are not an English Literature major.
There have been many literary analyses of this book and one of the interpretations of the book is that Santiago represents Jesus. I don’t know if I would have made the connection between Santiago and Jesus on my own but now that it has been brought to my attention, I can see how the interpretation came to be.
The first connection I found is how Santiago had to fight the fight on his own. He had many supporters afterwards, but he was alone on the sea. Another connection is the hands. The old man’s hands cramped and bled while trying to hold the line between him and the fish. But he would not give up. “The pain does not matter to a man.” (Hemingway, p ??). Finally, there is a reference to the way Santiago slept – “his arms out straight and the palms of his hand up” – that symbolizes Jesus on the cross.
Have you read “The Old Man and The Sea?” What are your thoughts on the book? Have you read other works by Hemingway? Please leave me a comment. I love hearing from you.
- Ernest Hemingway Wrote So… (peopleandhearts.com)
- Ernest Hemingway on Writing (chroniclestaff.wordpress.com)
- Hemingway’s letters from the Paris period reveal a complex character on the verge of fame (sacbee.com)
- Hemingway . . . And a Six Word Story of Grace (darrellcreswell.wordpress.com)