Friday, August 27, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway
published 1952
completed March 2010

Santiago, an old Cuban fisherman had not caught a fish in 84 days.  He is determined to catch a fish on day 85 and sets out deep into the sea.  He makes the catch of his life, a huge marlin, but with great difficulty.  Alone in his skiff, he struggles to make it back to shore.

Santiago is not educated, but he is incredibly wise.  This book helps to reiterate that ones character counts for something.  In the world's eyes, Santiago failed in the end, but I would say that Santiago has grown because  of what he experienced and how he chose to react to the situations he faced.   Santiago says at one point, "But a man is not made for defeat.  A man can be destroyed but not defeated."

Santiago's struggle was monumental and I could relate to that feeling.   I'm grateful that I read this as an adult.  If I had chosen to read this in high school, I would have had a completely different reaction.  To appreciate this book, I believe you have to have some life experience.  I think you have to understand what it is like to struggle and feel overwhelmed.  Sometimes its not about the end result, but about the personal, inner journey you take as you face life's difficulties.

This book is a quick and straightforward read, but I the message is beautiful. I wouldn't characterize the ending as happy, but rather satisfying.  I highly recommend The Old Man and the Sea.

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