The Old Man and The Sea is a classic that is recognized as either Ernest Hemingway’s best work or his worst. It’s the story of an old fisherman living in Havana, Cuba. He hasn’t caught a fish in 84 days and has lost his closest companion as a result; yet he remains proud and optimistic.
The old man and the boy, named Santiago and Manolin respectively, are the only major characters in the book. The majority of the book takes place in the sea and details Santiago’s struggle with a magnificent fish, his refusal to let it go and his willingness to go down with it.
”If he will jump I can kill him. But he stays down forever. Then I will stay down with him forever.”
I’ve tried reading Ernest Hemingway many times, each time without success and I never seemed to get past the first ten pages, until I started The Old Man and The Sea. Even though the story can seem slow-paced and insignificant, Hemingway’s style takes an ordinary situation and makes it a story worth telling. This story is packed with underlying themes that contemplate honour, perseverance, the cycle of life and the meaning of success.
I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would, and the meaning went over my head the first time around. I would recommend it if you like classics and wish to understand the controversy surrounding The Old Man and The Sea, or if you like to examine stories and read up different analysis to thoroughly understand the messages it’s conveying.
Overall, it’s an impactful piece of literature that deserves to be read at least once.