The Old Man and the Sea is a novella written by Ernest Hemingway in Cuba in 1951 and published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction to be produced by Hemingway and published in his lifetime. He received a Pulitzer Prize and was awarded the Nobel Prize for it.
The book has a narrative structure which is simple and effective. It opens by explaining that the fisherman named Santiago has gone 84 days without catching a fish. He is apparently so unlucky that his young apprentice, Manolin, has been forbidden by his parents to sail with the old man and been ordered to fish with more successful fishermen. It starts on land with old man and the young boy, which establishes the characters. In the middle he fishes alone, all the action takes place at sea. Santiago has had bad luck with fishing for months and he goes out too far into the ocean. Although he goes too far, he catches an enormous marlin, bigger than he has ever seen or heard of. Alone he must wrestle the big marlin. The battle begins, not just with the fish, but with himself as well; the battle for his life.
The man catches the fish with much struggle. The fish wouldn't fit on his boat so he had to tie it to the side of his boat. Sharks of different kinds were attracted by the blood, and Santiago had to kill them in order to save his fish. By the time he got back to the dock where he had left, there was only the skeleton of a big fish. The story ends as it begins. Back on land, he is bowed and bloodied. The young boy, full of compassion, helped him with his needs and his wounds.
Santiago tells Manolin that 'A man can be destroyed but not defeated'.
In my opinion this wonderful story of friendship between a young boy and the old fisherman and mainly about the strength of human will is also after more than fifty years since its birth the powerful motivation for all people to master the crisis of their life.
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Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea
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