Ernest Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. I have read a couple of books written by him now including this one and really liked it. The Old Man and the Sea is more of a novella than a full-length novel but still just as good.
The novella is a story of an old struggling Cuban fisherman Santiago. As the story begins, Santiago hasn’t caught a fish in 84 days and he is seen as the worst form of unluckiness. A young boy is his apprentice Manolin, whom he encourages to work on successful fishing vessels instead of him. What follows is an epic tale of an old fisherman going head to head with a huge marlin fish. Santiago is so determined to catch this fish and he puts all of his strength to make sure the fish doesn’t slip away from him.
The story has classic elements when it comes to its themes and symbolism. The theme of perseverance, man versus nature, isolation, strength, and skill, and past and pride all come into play in this story. Some are more explicit while the others are a bit more subtle but constantly undercurrent to the story. Santiago refuses to give up even when faced with unwinnable odds and is determined to restore his pride and reputation by catching the fish.
The narration of the story is from a third-person point of view which I think enabled me to get a complete feel of the overall plot and the characters. Hemingway’s writing style is powerful and descriptive. There are no big words used, and the language is fairly simple. It is one of the reasons I personally like his writing style. The descriptions in the novel really give the complete feel of the physical aspects present in the novel. For example- the smells, and the rough sea descriptions actually help visualize the scenario.
An unusual tale about a man and a fish resurrected Hemingway’s career and won him awards, praises, and accolades. Hemingway through his powerful writing and timeless thematic aspects makes this short story unforgettable.
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