Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Old Man and the Sea

Title:
 The Old Man and the Sea
Author: Ernest Hemingway

Santiago, an old and skillful fisherman, is considered as 'salao', or extremely unlucky, after not having caught a single fish in the last 84 days. His apprentice is forced to shift away to the guidance of other fishermen, thanks to Santiago being branded unlucky. To bring an end to seemingly endless streak of bad luck, Santiago decides to sail up into the Gulf Stream, far into the sea till Straits of Florida, for his next catch. As he sets out, his catch happens to be a huge marlin, and a creature as determined to live as the old mas to catch it. The story weaves on as an old and tired Santiago battles the marlin in the sea and catches it finally, only to lose it to sharks on the way back to land.

This tragic tale of the old man's battle with the marlin and sharks in the sea has an incredible narration, and that is the best experience while reading this book. The plot is fairly simple, and there are a plenty of biblical references, with the Bible being referred in the name of 'The Sea Book'. In the final part of the book, as a tired Santiago having lost all the marlin, drops to a deep slumber, he dreams of "roaring lions" and his youth. Contrasting this with the tone and narration of the story, maybe Hemingway meant the book to mean that though the old man was defeated in one way, he was never truly defeated. 
“But man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
It's strikingly simple, yet has some profound thoughts. It's a book on pride. The old man is as proud of the marlin's attempts to live as his own attempts to haul the fish. We come across Santiago referring to the marlin as 'brother'. I have heard some refer the book as 'overrated' and 'boring', but I absolutely loved the narrative. It's a simple and small read, but has a strikingly captive narration! I really enjoyed it!

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