|About the Book|
Hemingway won a Pulitzer for The Old Man and the Sea. A year later he won the Nobel Prize for his “powerful, style forming mastery of the art of narration.” He always wanted to write the Great American Novel and although Old Man probably isn’t that because it takes place in Cuba, it is a compelling story. Santiago, an old, poor fisherman, hasn’t caught a fish in 85 days. He’s desperate for a catch and so he sets out one morning to catch anything that will give him the money to feed himself. What grabs his hook is the biggest fish he’s ever landed, a Marlin that is two feet longer than the skiff he’s in. He rides out the fish for two days and two nights, exhausting himself, but he finally kills it only to realize that he can’t get it into the boat, so he tries to tow it back to shore. He soon realizes his folly when sharks start to eat the fish and he cannot kill them. By the time he gets to shore the fish has been devoured and Santiago is defeated. He keeps saying “I went out too far, I went out too far.”Many will say that Old Man is symbolic of Hemingway’s story as a writer. He had risen to fame quickly only to produce Across the River and into the Trees in 1950 which was devoured by critics, much like the fish was by the sharks. He returned to Cuba defeated and set out to write Old Man. I think Old Man was a success, I think, because everyone relates to defeat, especially defeat after hard work. There is nothing shameful about it, and that is what Old Man show us.