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The Old Man and the Sea

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Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found here

This short novel, already a modern classic, is the superbly told, tragic story of a Cuban fisherman in the Gulf Stream and the giant Marlin he kills and loses—specifically referred to in the citation accompanying the author's Nobel Prize for literature in 1954.

96 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1952

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About the author

Ernest Hemingway

1,562 books28.1k followers
Terse literary style of Ernest Miller Hemingway, an American writer, ambulance driver of World War I , journalist, and expatriate in Paris during the 1920s, marks short stories and novels, such as The Sun Also Rises (1926) and The Old Man and the Sea (1952), which concern courageous, lonely characters, and he won the Nobel Prize of 1954 for literature.

Economical and understated style of Hemingway strongly influenced 20th-century fiction, whereas his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s. He published seven novels, six short story collections and two nonfiction works. Survivors published posthumously three novels, four collections of short stories, and three nonfiction works. People consider many of these classics.

After high school, Hemingway reported for a few months for the Kansas City Star before leaving for the Italian front to enlist. In 1918, someone seriously wounded him, who returned home. His wartime experiences formed the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms . In 1922, he married Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives. The couple moved, and he worked as a foreign correspondent and fell under the influence of the modernist writers and artists of the expatriate community of the "lost generation" of 1920s.

After his divorce of 1927 from Hadley Richardson, Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer. At the Spanish civil war, he acted as a journalist; afterward, they divorced, and he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls . Hemingway maintained permanent residences in Key West, Florida, and Cuba during the 1930s and 1940s.

Martha Gellhorn served as third wife of Hemingway in 1940. When he met Mary Welsh in London during World War II, they separated; he presently witnessed at the Normandy landings and liberation of Paris.

Shortly after 1952, Hemingway went on safari to Africa, where two plane crashes almost killed him and left him in pain and ill health for much of the rest of his life. Nevertheless, in 1959, he moved from Cuba to Ketchum, Idaho, where he committed suicide in the summer of 1961.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 36,883 reviews
Profile Image for Matt.
935 reviews28.6k followers
April 26, 2016
I read this as a young man and was disappointed. It didn't work for me. I thought it was about a crazy old man gone off the reservation, picking a fight with an innocent fish while ranting about the New York Yankees ("I would like to take the great DiMaggio fishing. They say his father was a fisherman...").

I picked it up again, after the passage of some years, and found it incredibly poignant.

It's a simple story. There's an old man, Santiago, who is a fisherman fallen on hard times. He is cared for by a young boy, Manolin, who no longer works on his boat. Santiago goes into the Gulf and engages in the fight of his life with a giant marlin. What follows is a dream-like, stream-of-conscious meditation as the old man matches strength and wits with the great fish.

After 84 days of no fish, Santiago takes his skiff far out to sea. He drops his line and hooks a marlin. He can't pull it in, so he takes hold of the line, beginning the back and forth: when the marlin runs, he gives the line slack; when the marlin is still, he pulls the line in. The old man's hands are cut by the rope. His muscles strain. He has no food or water. Yet he doesn't give up. The obsession has shades of Moby Dick, except at the end of this novel, I didn't feel the need to dig up Melville and punch him in the skull:

I have never seen or heard of such a fish. But I must kill him. I am glad we do not have to try to kill the stars. Imagine if each day a man must try to kill the moon, he thought. The moon runs away. . . . Then he was sorry for the great fish that had nothing to eat and his determination to kill him never relaxed in his sorrow for him. . . . There is no one worthy of eating him from the manner of his behavior and his great dignity. I do not understand these things, he thought. But it is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers.

Eventually, the marlin is hauled in and killed. The old man attaches him to the boat, and begins to row towards shore. Of course, the marlin is dripping blood, so if you've seen Jaws or read James and the Giant Peach, you can imagine that his dreams of hitting it big with this fish are probably not going to come to pass.

Age teaches you a lot of things. You start to realize that you might never be the person you thought you'd be as a child. Days go by, you start to lose more and gain less. I thought about this as I thought about the old man, raging like Dylan Thomas against the night; an old man nearing the end of his days fighting against nature, time, death, a fish, able to boil all things down into one climatic struggle on the high seas. At the end, he did not succeed, at least not in the manner he'd foreseen, but he was, in an inimitable way, victorious.

'You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food,' he thought. 'You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?'

Profile Image for Sara.
179 reviews143 followers
April 22, 2008
Oh, my good lord in heaven. Cut your line, land your boat and go to McDonald's! Just as in the case of The Great Gatsby, I understand the book. Yes, I know it changed the way American writers write. I also understand that it celebrates the ridiculous American idea that you're only a REAL man if you've done something entirely purposeless, but really dangerous, in pursuit of making yourself look like the bull with the biggest sexual equipment. Get over it, already! Go home and clean out the refrigerator, or wash the curtains, or vacuum under the furniture. Pick your kids up from school or take your daughter bra shopping. THAT would impress me. Being too dumb to cut your fishing line? Not the mate I would pick...
The only bright spot about the book is if you think of it on a metaphorical level: there is a point at which ALL of us must grit our teeth and hold on in the face of despair. That is the definition of life. However, if that's the point, then the plot situation needs to be one of necessity (like the shipwreck in Life of Pi), instead of stubbornness.
It's been a while since I wrote this review, and there's a lot of amusing speculation in the comments people have attached. I have to say, they crack me up. Here's my final word on reviewing on Goodreads (or anywhere); One of the most important elements of reading is that it allows each of us to react in the way we need to react, without judgment, as we experience the book. This is how I reacted to The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway is dead, or I wouldn't have been so up-front with my opinion. He's not insulted, I understand that we all need goals in life, and I've been happily married for a LONG time. Now take a deep breath and smile. Life is too short to be anxious about picayune stuff like this.
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
September 7, 2015
"There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know."

-Ernest Hemingway
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
431 reviews4,218 followers
August 5, 2023
This One Had Me Hooked

Set in Cuba, The Old Man and The Sea is about an old fisherman named Santiago. He has not been lucky lately with his fishing, and he is all alone in the world save one little boy. Will Santiago’s luck turn?

This book had me hooked from the beginning (sorry I couldn’t resist). But seriously, this book gripped me from the beginning. It is definitely a tearjerker. The Old Man and The Sea is deeply moving and filled with symbolism. This is a perfect example of an author showing instead of telling, and what a beautiful masterpiece!

Overall, a deeply moving novella that I can’t wait to read again.

This book is one of James Mustich’s 1,000 Books to Read.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
May 17, 2012
hemingway-1-1 v2

My very first time reading Papa and I absolutely LOVED IT. Sometimes the experience you have with a book can be effected by many things beyond the narrative itself, and I think that is certainly the case here. While I believe I would have loved this story regardless, there is no doubt that the stars aligned themselves perfectly to make this a singularly special read for me.

Let me explain...

Last year, I was in Napa with my wife and two of our best friends celebrating my (oh shit!!) 40th birthday. It was the latter part of October (near the end of harvest time) and the weather was perfect...DUH, it’s Napa.

We were staying at our favorite Napa sanctuary, the Villagio Inn and Spa.
Hotel v2
Though pricey, Vellagio is just about perfect, it's centrally located, with wonderful rooms, and one of the BEST breakfast spreads in the world...Hey, when you are going out drinking all day, it is important to load up on foodstuffs to avoid alcohol-related trouble. have a nice big breakfast before you go out and drink all day...it is called being practical.

Speaking of drinking all day, we had just come back from an awesome tour of the Castle di Amarossa Winery which is, I shit you not, a real castle in the middle of Napa, California...

…complete with MEGA DINING HALL

...and a TORTURE CHAMBER…..yep, a rack, an Iron Maiden and some device that made me constipated just looking at it.

Anyway, we got back to the room and had a few hours to relax before a late dinner reservation. Well, I don’t sleep all that much and so, while my wife took a nap (light weight that she is), I decided I would find something fairly short to read. I choose this story because it was only 100 pages long (or just under 3 hours via audio) and it seemed to fit my time allotment perfectly.

So, feeling a little buzzed and in a superb, yet contemplative mood (I had just turned 40 for crying out loud), I poured myself another glass of wine (shut up and don't judge me), went and sat on the balcony outside our room and, with the sun starting to go down, began listening to the audio version of this story.

Well, this story slammed me and had me sucked in and captive from the very first words: “He was the old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.” By the way, now would be a good time to mention that the audio version I listened to was read by Donald Sutherland, and the marriage of the story with Sutherland’s perfect narration was nothing short of magical. In my opinion it is THE ONLY VERSION of the audio book that should be sold. 

As many have said (and almost as many have complained), this is in many ways a simple story about an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who has had a significant run of bad luck fishing (i.e., 84 days). "Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the 
same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated." Attempting to change his luck, he decides to take his skiff further out than he has ever gone before, "beyond all the people of the world." Eventually, he lands the largest Marlin he's ever seen and the bulk of the narrative details his epic struggle to reel in the fish and get it back to shore. 

Yes, a simple story and Hemingway uses sparse, straight-forward prose...and devastates with them. The most powerful emotions, passions and struggles that people experience are often tied to the most basic needs and the most elemental aspects of who they are. I felt an immediate connection to the story and was deeply moved by the restrained, yet palpable power of the narrative.

The most lasting message that I took away from the story was that, despite the many hardships Santiago faces, and the titanic trials that he endures on the open sea, I NEVER ONCE felt that I was supposed to pity or feel sorry for him in any way. Here was a person doing what he loves to do, what gives him purpose in life, and struggling with an iron will to accomplish his goal. The struggle is hard, it is difficult, but it is who he is and what gives him fulfillment in life. All I could feel was giant admiration for this man.

I found this uplifting and a powerful reaffirmation of what is truly important in life. "But a man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed 
but not defeated."

Whether it was the setting I was in, the mood I was in, the wine I was drinking, the wonderful narration or the power of the words themselves, in the end the result was the same. I felt ALIVE, and for that I say thank you “Papa” wherever you are!!! 

That is basically it, but I wanted to leave you with my favorite line from the story, one that I think encapsulates everything Hemingway set out to accomplish in his tale. "And what beat you, he thought. 'Nothing,' he said aloud. 
'I went out too far.'"

5.0 stars and one of my “All Time" favorites. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,309 reviews120k followers
October 29, 2020
It is intimidating to offer a truly critical look at such a classic, so we will ease into it with a few images.

The GOP has offered us a ready-made item to begin this list, and yes, I know that John Stewart already snagged this one and threw it back.

I turned up a visual art concept that fits in, for a restaurant based on EH themes:description

Although I did not sit for this photo, the resemblance is indeed strikingdescription

And, of course
The Old Man and the Cee Lo.

I suppose am certain there are plenty more images one might lure into our net, but sticking to words for a bit, we will pass on the porn offering, The Old Man and the Semen. How about the moving tale of a Navy Construction veteran, The Old Man and the Seabees, or an obstetrical episode of Grey's Anatomy, The Old Man and the C-Section. Then there might be a psychological drama about a man with bipolar disorder, The Old Man and the See Saw, or a book about an elderly acupuncturist, The Old Man and the Chi. How about a Disney adventure in which Paul Hogan rescues a pinniped, yes, gentle reader, The Old Man and the Seal. Maybe a bit of Cuban self-affirmation, The Old Man and the Si. I could go on, of course, and probably will, at home, until my wife threatens to leave. The possibilities are rather endless. But the Geneva Conventions might be brought into play, and we can’t have that. Tackling such a review head on seems, somehow, wrong, like using paint by number to copy the Mona Lisa, carving the Pieta out of gigantic blocks of cheddar, writing a love poem for your beloved using MadLibs or At some point, though, I guess you have to, you know, fish or cut bait.

I struggled mightily with this one, finding a hook, then having it pull away, grabbing hold of an idea and watching it disappear beneath waves of uncertainty. I tried waiting a while, resting between attempts, losing myself in other contemplations. Smiling a bit, but always hoping for something I could finally yank aboard. Notions of religious connections, Papa’s personal philosophy, and story-telling technique all pulled in diverse directions. As you will see, it was a not a simple contest. And I am not certain that what I ultimately caught is all that filling.
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky.
So opens The Old Man and the Sea, the book, we hear tell, that convinced the Nobel committee to reel in EGH with the biggest literary hook of them all. Santiago is an old, unlucky, but skilled Cuban fisherman. He has an able assistant, the young Manolin. The lad is not a blood relation, but he sees a father figure in the old man, and he may be a younger reflection of the old man himself. Maybe Santiago sees himself in the young man and takes some strength from that. Like the best sort of father, he teaches the boy to fish rather than fishing for him. But Santiago’s ill fortune has marked him as someone to be avoided and Manolin’s parents have put the kibosh on their professional association. The old man is determined to salvage his reputation, and his honor, and bring in some money by going farther out than the other fishermen are willing to sail, in search of redemption. No herald calls him to action. No dramatic event sparks him to excessive risk. It is an internal challenge that powers his engines. But it is a quest nonetheless on which Santiago embarks.

Any time there are fish involved, one might presume a degree of soul saving. I do not know enough Hemingway to have a take on whether or not that figured here. I raise it only as a passing thought. But the second sentence of the book offers a hint. “In the first forty days…”clearly places Santiago’s travails alongside another person who spent forty days in a different barren environment. It was after being baptized that Jesus spent his time in the desert, preparing for what awaited. Is Santiago to be tested here? Will he be offered a route away from his difficult path?

The waters are becalmed. Nothing moves. A moment, then, for a digression. OK, let’s try some simple arithmetic, if Jesus, at age 30, spent 40 days in the desert, and Santiago has gone 84 days in his version of the desert, just how old is the old man? 63, according to my calculations. Possible. I do not recall seeing an actual age noted, so I am gonna go with that. I know you guys will let me know if an actual age is revealed somewhere and my squinty geezer eyes missed it. Done. I can feel a slight breeze beginning to flutter the sail.

Some sort of religion seems to flow through this fish tale. Not only are we sprinkled with forty-day references, but Santiago discusses sin. In his struggles he suffers physical damage in which some might see an echo of Calvary. But I think that is a stretch, personally. So, we have a bit of religion, and a quest. What is Santiago questing for? Redemption would fit in nicely. Having failed for a long time, he feels a need to redeem himself in the eyes of his community. Maybe not a religious thing, per se, but swimming in the same waters. And speaking of religion, water as a baptismal element is always a possibility, although somewhat diluted here, as Santiago makes his living on the water.

The old man is strong, skilled and determined. Maybe it is his character that is at issue. Maybe somehow, taking on this challenge is a way to prove to himself that he is truly a man. He goes about his business, and his fishing is his fate, maybe even his life. It is in how he handles himself when faced with this challenge that will show us the sort of person he is, a common Hemingway theme, and he does just that.

This is a very short novel, more, maybe, a novella or large short story. But it has the feel of a parable. There is definitely something going on here even if it keeps slipping out of my analytical net.

I was reminded of another well-known fish story, Moby Dick (really, allow a little literary license here people. Yes I know the whale is not a fish. Geez.). Whereas in that one, the fisherman, Ahab, sets himself against the whale, and therefore either fate or god, seeing a personal enemy, Santiago sees the fish as his brother, a fellow creature in the universe acting out his part. The challenge is always about oneself and not about the external enemy, or rival. In fact, the fish and Santiago are both victimized, together, by the sharks that feast on his catch.
Then he was sorry for the great fish that had nothing to eat and his determination to kill him never relaxed in his sorrow for him. How many people will he feed, he thought. But are they worthy to eat him? No, of course not. There is not one worthy of eating him from the manner of his behaviour and his great dignity.
One might be forgiven for seeing here a possible reference to catholic communion and the relative merit of so many of those who receive. Is the fish (a Christian symbol if there ever was one) meant to be Jesus or some other form of deity, as Moby was?

Could it be that Hemingway’s notion of religion is less Christian and more a sort of materialist (as in non-spiritual, not as in accumulating stuff) philosophy? Lacking the proper tackle for that I will leave such considerations to those who have spent more time than I trolling Hemingway’s waters.

The writing is mostly either third-person description or the old man’s internal, and sometimes spoken, dialogue. Regardless of the literary ambitions splashing about here, the story is about a very sympathetic character. Santiago is a man not only of physical strength, but moral character. He is not portrayed as a saint, but as a simple man, maybe even, in a way, an ideal man in his simplicity. He knows his place in the world, faces the challenges that world presents to him and using only his skill, intelligence, strength and determination, overcomes (or not). It is easy to climb on board as a Santiago supporter. He is a fellow who is very much a part of the world, even as he contemplates larger things.

The Old Man and the Sea is a small story, but it is a whale of a tale. If you have not fished these waters before, don’t let this be one of those that got away.



1/5/13 - Jeffrey Keeten sent along this amazing link. Gary Wyatt had shared it with him. It will definitely make you smile

6/20/13 - I discovered that one of the images I used had vanished into the ether, so I substituted another

9/4/2019 - I just came across a really wonderful piece about Hemingway, this book in particular, by Joe Fassler, in The Atlantic - The Hemingway Scene That Shows How Humanity Works, in which he interviews novelist Téa Obreht about the unexpected lions in this book - Great stuff. Check it out.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews42 followers
July 29, 2021
(Book 521 From 1001 Books) - The Old Man and The Sea, Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea is a short novel written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Bimini, Bahamas, and published in 1952.

It was the last major work of fiction by Hemingway that was published during his lifetime. One of his most famous works, it tells the story of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba.

In 1953, The Old Man and the Sea was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and it was cited by the Nobel Committee as contributing to their awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Hemingway in 1954.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «مرد پیر و دریا»؛ «پیرمرد و دریا»؛ نویسنده: ارنست همینگوی، (نگاه) ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1972میلادی

عنوان: مرد پیر و دریا؛ نویسنده: ارنست همینگوی؛ مترجم: م.خ یحیوی؛ تهران، کانون معرفت، 1331، در 176ص؛ چاپ دیگر 1340؛

مترجم: سعیدی، تهران، نشر شهریار، ؟؟، در 175ص؛

مترجم: رضا مرعشی، تهران، معراجی، ؟؟، در 128ص؛

عنوان: پیرمرد و دریا؛ نویسنده: ارنست همینگوی؛ مترجم: نازی عظیما؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، 1354، در 151ص؛ چاپ سوم 1388، چاپ دیگر تهران، افق، 1389، در 158ص؛ شابک 9789643696108؛ چاپ چهارم 1391؛

عنوان: پیرمرد و دریا؛ نویسنده: ارنست همینگوی؛ مترجم: نجف دریابندری؛ تهران، خوارزمی، 1363، در 145ص؛ ویرایش دوم 1372: در 224ص؛ چاپ سوم 1385؛ چاپ چهارم 1389؛ در 222ص؛ شابک 9789644870729؛ چاپ پنجم 1392؛

شرح تلاش‌های یک ماهیگیر پیر «کوبایی»، به نام «سانتیاگو» است، که هشتاد و چهار روز است، یک ماهی هم نگرفته، اینبار در دل دریاهای دور، برای به دام انداختن یک نیزه‌ ماهی بسیار بزرگ، با آن ماهی وارد مبارزه ی مرگ و زندگی می‌شود؛ و ...؛

نگارش این کتاب، یکی از برهانهای اهدای جایزه ی ادبی «نوبل» سال 1954میلادی، به «ارنست همینگوی» بوده‌ است؛ شخصیت «پیرمرد»، در داستان «پیرمرد و دریا»، دست کم در برخی موارد، برگرفته از شخصیت واقعی یک ماهیگیر «کوبایی»، به نام «گرگوریو فوئنتس»، بوده‌ است، که «همینگوی» ایشان را، برای نگهداری از قایق خویش، به نام «پیلار»، در «کوبا» استخدام کرده بودند

نماد قهرمانی شکست‌ خورده: «سانتیاگو» شخصیت اصلی داستان «پیرمرد و دریا» می‌تواند نماد یک قهرمان شکست خورده باشد؛ او نمونه‌ ای از شجاعت، قدرت، و استقامت نژاد انسان است؛ او همچون انسان‌ها با «سرنوشت (ماهی)» و «زندگی که هم دوست‌ داشتنی و هم مورد نفرت (دریا)» است، به مبارزه برمی‌خیزد؛ چیزی که در واقعیت امر باعث شکست «سانتیاگو» می‌شود، غرور اوست؛ «سانتیاگو» نمادی از انسان است؛ «ارنست همینگوی» در چندین جا «سانیاگو» را با «عیسی مسیح» قیاس کرده‌: («سانتیاگو» دکل قایقش را روی شانه‌ هایش گذاشت و به طرف بالای جاده به راه افتاد…؛ او قبل از آنکه به کلبه‌ اش برسد پنج بار بر زمین نشست)؛ و این شباهتی به حالت‌های «عیسی مسیح»، آنگاه که صلیب بر دوش به سمت مصلوب شدن گام برمی‌داشتند، دارد؛ در داستان می‌خوانیم که آنگاه که «سانتیاگو» خوابید (صورتش رو به پایین بود…؛ بازوانش به دو طرف دراز شده و کف دستانش رو به بالا بودند)؛ حالتی به قرار گرفتن «مسیح» بر روی صلیب شباهت دارد؛ پیرمرد در طول داستان در آرز��ی داشتن نمک، ادویه و چاشنی اصلی غذای انسان است؛ او همانند «پطرس»، یکی از «حواریون مسیح»، است.

نقل از متن: (یک ساعتی بود که پیرمرد جلوی چشمش لکه های سیاه می‌دید؛ عرق چشمش را می‌سوزاند، و بریدگیِ بالای چشم، و روی پیشانی‌اش را می‌سوزاند؛ از لکه های سیاه نمی‌ترسید؛ با آن فشاری که بر ریسمان می‌آورد، این طبیعی بود؛ اما دو بار احساس ضعف کرد، و سرش گیج رفت؛ این نگرانش می‌کرد؛ گفت: غیرممکنه، من زه نمی‌زنم، تو چنگ یه همچین ماهی ای نمی‌میرم، اونم حالا که داره به این خوشگلی میاد جلو؛ خدایا به من قوت بده تاب بیارم؛ صد بار ای پدر ما...؛ و صد بار یا حضرت مریم می‌خونم؛ ولی الان نمی‌تونم بخونم.)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 23/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 06/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Kenny.
506 reviews938 followers
July 2, 2023
"But man is not made for defeat" he said. "A man can be destroyed, but not defeated."
The Old Man and the Sea ~~ Ernest Hemingway


I first encountered Hemingway in college while taking a humanities class; the professor had us read Hemingway’s The Nick Adams Stories . I fell in love with Hemingway’s short stories. I wrote an impassioned paper on the character of Nick and received an “A” for my efforts. Throughout the years, I have returned to Hemingway’s short stories, and novellas, and I have never been disappointed.

Fast forward 15 years: The Old Man and the Sea had been on my book shelves for quite some time. I picked it up on a whim on July 21st, in honor of Hemingway’s birthday. So once again, I returned to the world of Ernest Hemingway.


The Old Man and the Sea is told with extraordinary simplicity. It is amazing that Hemingway accomplishes so much using so little. Hemingway sacrifices nothing, and shows that brevity is the essence of style here. He clearly draws a portrait of the inner and outer strength of this amazing man. A man who faces each day with a quiet dignity.

The Old Man and the Sea is not just a tale of a man and a fish. It is a story of man against nature, and valor, in the face of adversity. Most importantly, it is a story of man and God. To quote William Faulkner:
" His best. Time may show it to be the best single piece of any of us, I mean his and my contemporaries. This time, he discovered God, a Creator. Until now, his men and women had made themselves, shaped themselves out of their own clay; their victories and defeats were at the hands of each other, just to prove to themselves or one another how tough they could be. But this time, he wrote about pity: about something somewhere that made them all: the old man who had to catch the fish and then lose it, the fish that had to be caught and then lost, the sharks which had to rob the old man of his fish; made them all and loved them all and pitied them all. It’s all right. Praise God that whatever made and loves and pities Hemingway and me kept him from touching it any further. "


Hemingway celebrates the daring and resolve of the old man. Hemingway celebrates this man who goes thru life alone, ferocious, heroic, daring, showing what Hemingway views as the human spirt at its very best. I can’t help but think this is how Papa Hemingway views himself.

There is another story being told here as well; one of the purest, most beautiful stories of friendship I’ve ever read. The old man is not alone. He has a friendship, with a young boy who began fishing with him when the boy was only five. Their story is rooted in love, and mutual respect. The boy has been forced to work with another boat, a luckier boat, by his parents. He dreams of working with the old man once more. When the old man goes to war with the fish, he says repeatedly, “I wish the boy were here.


I am surprised that there is such animosity towards this brilliant work. Most people are introduced to this work in high school. That is really quite a shame since it is not intended for the young. With their limited life experience, they cannot relate to the old man.

Is there a place for Hemingway’s view of the world today? Politicians’ speak of individualism, and point to rugged individualism. But in this world of Trumps and McConnells, Kardashians and Kanyes, the individual spirit is trampled on daily. Are there any people left in this world like the old man? I don’t know of any.

To those who criticize this brilliant work, I understand; today we live lives far removed from the old man’s world. But Hemingway forces us to remember the spirit of the individual, the struggle for human dignity in the face of our daily struggles to survive. Hemingway forces us to recognize bravery, tenacity, expertise, skill and strength.

Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,259 reviews5,614 followers
September 10, 2022
كبرياءك كرجل يكمن في انجازك
..مهما كان عمرك..او نسبك..او حجمك
تنتهي كرجل يوم يموت فيك الامل..و من فينا لم يشعر في وقت ما انه :سانتياجو
اربع و ثمانين يوما متتالية يا سانتياجو لم تفز فيها بسمكة واحدة
هل مللت؟
هل يأست ؟
هل انصاعت ذراعيك الواهنتين و تركت السمكة؟
ثلاث ايام يا سانتياجو و انت تصارع سمكة عملاقة تفوق مركبك حجما🐋

بقدرة و سلاسة و بعض الملل. .يؤكد لنا همنجواي على:وجود الشر و الأذى و المصائب و الكوارث
بل يعترف همنجواي بتقلب الظروف التي يصعب تحليلها او اعداد العدة لها
في هذا النمط من الصراعات 🌊 بينك و بين قوى الطبيعة . .لا يوجد رابح و خاسر هنا
فلو التفتنا إلى العنف و الموت المظللين فوق حياتنا دائما سنترك الإصرار و الأمل

من التفسيرات العجيبة للرواية ان سمك القرش هو نحن : النقاد
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,028 reviews17.7k followers
September 8, 2023
On July 2, 1961, Heaven and the world fell silent.

When a just man dies
Lamentation and praise
Sorrow and joy
Are one.

And some suicides, as Scobie’s in The Heart of the Matter, are - no matter what dour theologians May say - Trophies of Heaven.

Such, surely, was Hemingway’s.

That sunny, windy summer morning we all got the news, even my preteen friends and I were taciturn and sullen.

Ernest Hemingway had been a Hero in our world. Life and Time magazines said so, and they were the gospel truth for our parents...

That was the morning my parents had scheduled to get our hardwood flooring refinished, so all us kids had to be outa there pronto!

So, little James Deans all, my buddies and I decided grimly to ride our bikes far, far into the rural countryside.

Our chests were hollow, as happens at times when you lose someone special.

So, we thought, A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do - saddle up and ride out!

We rode for hours that day. Me, Ricky, my little brother and Peter Teal. We knew on the way back we’d be bucking the strong north wind, but we didn’t care...

Finally we arrived at an eerily abandoned farmhouse.

Obviously, no one had lived there for years. But everything - furniture, appliances, even cutlery on the table - was strangely untouched. Like the family wasn’t planning to go far...

Just like Ernest Hemingway. He just had to go and get some Fresh Air, away from all his demons for a moment!

A month later I read this book. My Mom the librarian said it was a good place to start with this great writer.

With school starting soon and the days getting shorter, I read about Santiago and his dream.

And the Great Victory he had won in that dream...

The greatest victory of all -

The victory of the immortal human Heart over Despair.
November 15, 2022
A story of a destroyed but undefeated thin, old, gaunt man, Santiago, with an unlucky boat.
A story of a decrepit man with deep neck wrinkles.
Everything was old about him, but for his cheerful and infallible eyes!
With no fisherman luck but a helping-hand in a young boy with ardour and empathy, Manolin!
The bond between the two is way too adorable!

Though the circumstances distance the two physically,
but could not deter the love between the two!
Both have sincere love and care for each other.
One day the old man ventures onto the
outer lying areas of the sea,
Lost in his musings, a gigantic fish, Marlin, eats his sardine bait,
Breaking his reverie!
What follows is sheer adventure on the sea!
But Santiago keeps feeling alone,
keeps cursing his diminishing strength!
He says Hail Marys and Our Fathers,
To magically assist his quest for conquering the fish,
It is a story of adventure of the man to get hold of marlin!
What happens during the expedition and upon his return,
Kindly read for yourself to swim and breathe!

My Views-

I am personally a fan of stories about sea and seafarers. This story is emblematic of it, and corroborated the concept phenomenonally , in entirety and handsomely! Indeed, a MASTERPIECE.
The appealing themes of unity, undying heroism, and obsession with proving one’s worthiness, are propounded gracefully.

I forever tried my best to increase the rating beyond 3.5-stars, but could not, seriously in a pickle situation! :(

Maybe because of the exposition of hopelessness, declining age and at no juncture of the story, seeing infused-hope, refrained me from falling in “true-love” with this “award-winning story”!
I am a sucker of hope-inducing plots.Though Santiago remains undefeated till the end, still the signals of despondency and down-heartedness at smooth intervals, gave me a grimace of pain!

At no point I was unleashed from this vicious cycle of pain and despondency conferred on by old-age and dwindling muscle!

Old-age is fated, inevitable and a hard-fact, which cannot be changed, and hence wailing over it and commiserating, didn’t do any good to me. Irrespective of the lack, Santiago keeps fighting, which is creditable.

One of my biggest take-aways from my personal life is- harping or sympathizing with irrevocably painful truths, pervades more despondence and imparts infirmity!

Again, this is purely my stance, so couldn’t go beyond 3.5-stars!


What stood out for me?

The unique relationship between the old man and boy, comprising of sincere love and friendship! Afterall, they had spent countless hours on the sea together. Love and concern weren’t incumbent on the boy, but just out of compassion for the old man! 😊

Old age –
the limitation of being old is shown clearly in this story. Though the old man keeps cursing his diminishing strength, old and decrepit body, but he remains undefeated, until the very end of his battle with the sea!
As stated earlier, irrespective of being unbeaten, I personally was cast down onlooking the shrinking strength and grim circumstances of Santiago!

The closing line, mentions about him dreaming of lions. Lions are symbolic of valor, strength and youth.
According to me he dreamt of them, hoping to get back his youth or found solace and comfort basking in his memories of youth.This story propounds a lot on aging and diminishing strength!



I haven’t shared any events during the expedition or upon his return. There are existing brimming reviews on GRs openly disclosing spoilers for this story (and many other stories), but yet not marked!
The title “The Old Man and the Sea” is the biggest spoiler in itself, so fault-finders and overtly sensitive readers, kindly sue Ernst Hemingway 😊 Thanks!
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 3 books774 followers
January 28, 2023
Oh my GOD, just throw the fuckin' fish back in the water, already.

Profile Image for oyshik.
219 reviews690 followers
February 4, 2021
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

With a language of great force and simplicity, it tells the story of an old fisherman whom luck seems to have abandoned. And also of the dire challenge he faces. The story is quite simple. I know there were enough tension moments in this book. But still, I didn't enjoy the story much.
Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.

Good story.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,065 reviews1,757 followers
July 8, 2017
خیلى خیلى وقت پیش، زمانى كه هنوز نوجوانى بودم، داستانى نوشتم به تقلید از پیرمرد و دریاى همینگوى، ولى با لحنى به مقتضاى سنم، رمانتیك و شاعرانه. داستان ماجراى پیرمردى ست كه از این كه سیرى و گرسنگى خود و خانواده اش به دست بازى هاى دریا باشد، به تنگ آمده. روزى، پس از چهار ماه بدون صید ماندن، چهار ماه گرسنگى، تورش را بر مى دارد و مى رود تا صید اصلى را به تور بیندازد. نه ماهى هاى كوچك، نه نهنگ هاى بزرگ، خود خود دریا را.

خانواده اش از این جنون به وحشت مى افتند و مى خواهند متوقفش كنند، مى گویند: اراده ى انسان حدى دارد و هر چیزى را نمى توان به دست آورد. مى گویند: آن ها به همین اندك راضى و قانعند. خیلى چیزهاى دیگر هم مى گویند. ولى پیرمرد همه را پس مى زند و راهى دریا مى شود.
دریا نخست ریشخندش مى كند و آشغال به تورش مى اندازد. پیرمرد از اراده اش بر نمى گردد. دریا با بى اعتنایى چند ماهى به تورش مى اندازد كه برود رد كارش. پیرمرد ماهى ها را بر مى گرداند و باز تور مى اندازد. دریا مى لرزد و نهنگى برایش مى فرستد. پیرمرد نگاهش هم نمى كند و باز تور مى اندازد. دریا خشمگین مى شود، موج از پى موج مى فرستد براى واژگونى این بر هم زننده ى نظم آفرینش. پیرمرد، مصمم تور مى اندازد و تور مى اندازد و تور مى اندازد.

سال ها گذشته و هنوز پایان مناسبى براى این داستان به ذهنم نرسیده. در یك روایت پیرمرد غرق مى شود و دریا تا همیشه از گرسنگان تور به دست مى ترسد.
در یك روایت پیرمرد با اراده اش چنان تركى به نظم آفرینش مى اندازد كه بلور شكست ناپذیر كیهان به كل مى شكند و در هم فرو مى ریزد و هر تكه ى آن به گوشه اى از دریاى عدم پرتاب مى شود.
روایت هاى دیگرى هم هست. اما در هیچ یك پیرمرد موفق نمى شود دریا را به تور بیندازد، و در هیچ یك دریا موفق نمى شود پیرمرد را از اراده اش برگرداند. این دو در همه ى روایت ها، چون دو جنگجوى آشتى ناپذیر خصم ابدى یكدیگر باقى مى مانند.
Profile Image for فايز غازي Fayez Ghazi .
Author 2 books3,894 followers
July 6, 2023
- الشيخ والبحر، احدى افضل القصص التي يكون ظاهرها متيناً وباطنها امتن فعلى سبيل المثال فرواية مثل "مزرعة الحيوان" ظاهرها جيد وباطنها او مقصدها إبداع. اما "الشيخ والبحر" فجمال على جمال...

- قبل الشروع في الرواية لا بد ان اذكر شيئاً شخصياً، فأنا اكره صيد السمك، لأنني لا امتلك الصبر المناسب لذلك رغم اني حاولت: ففي المرة الاولى غفوت في القارب وفي الثانية تركت الأصدقاء وغادرت اما في الثالثة فذهبت الى مينا ابو ظبي واشتريت الأسماك والروبيان العماني وعدت مسروراً :)، لكنني اقدر "صيد السمك" كمهنة واحترمها جداً رغم عدم تفهمي او استيعابي لها كهواية، لكنها تبقى امور شخصية.

- القصة بظاهرها عن صياد سمك هرمٍ، يعاكسه حظّه لأكثر من 80 يوماً، لكن بعدها يحالفه الحظ بأكبر سمكة قد اصطادها يوماً بالإضافة الى قتله عدة أسماك قرش بطريقه. الوصف والسرد والحوارات الداخلية التي اقامها همنغواي كانت رائعة ودقيقة وترجمة منير البعلبكي كانت جيدة جداً.

- رغم ان "الصبر" يلوح كثيمة للرواية، لكنني استبعد ذلك كلياً، فحسبما ارى ان الثيمة هي "الكفاح" وليس الكفاح في سبيل الرزق او الربح المادي بل الكفاح من اجل اشباع الغرور الذاتي واثبات المثبت بالنسبة للصياد نفسه قبل اثباته امام الآخرين! وهذا يتضح في عدة اماكن حيث يصرّح الصياد بذلك. فالصياد الهرم الذي يمتلك بجعبته العديد من الحيل والتقنيات في مواجهة البحر اولاً وكيفية اصطياد السمك ثانياً اراد ان يثبت لنفسه انه لا زال ذلك "البطل" الذي عهده في شبابه وان السنين لم تضعفه وان المسألة من اولها لآخرها مجرد حظ عاثر لا بد ان ينجلي!

- الثيمة الثانية هي "الصداقة" وقد ابدع همنغواي في نسج هذه العلاقة بين الغلام وسانتياجو، علاقة المتدرب بالمدرب والصغير بالكبير، العلاقة التي تتأرجح بين المحبة والشفقة والإقتداء والثقة.

- القصة بباطنها أبعد من صياد واوسع من بحر! وتحتمل العديد من التأويلات: فهي قد تكون قصة الحياة ذاتها، حيث الصياد هو الإنسان بالمطلق، والسمكة-السيف هي الهدف المنشود، والقروش هي المصاعب، والسكين والحربة هي المعرفة والقوة وأدوات المواجهة. قصة الكفاح الإنساني واذا فقد الإنسان سلاحاً (فقد الصياد حربته، انكسر سكينه، فقد الهراوة لاحقاً) عليه بإبتداع حل جديد حتى يصل الى برّ الأمان.

- قصة مميزة أنصح الجميع بها.
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
656 reviews7,099 followers
November 21, 2014
The wolves will come...

I started this in high spirits as my updates show: "fifth re-read, how thrilling it is to plumb new depths in old wells of wisdom..."

But, as I read on towards the last few pages, I couldn't shake the feeling that this is Moby Dick set in an alternate universe.

In this alternate universe:

The Giant Leviathan is a noble, unseen fish - steady and without malice.
Captain Ahab is transformed into a gentle, wise old zen master. Santiago - a humble fisherman with no legendary crew to command and only his frail body instead of a Pequod to do his bidding.
Ishmael is a young boy, who instead of being a "end is nigh" Nostradamus is a loving, weeping young boy who cares deeply about the world.
Queequeg is probably the dolphin which was the old man's only hope against his foe, his brother.

Now Moby Dick for me was the grand struggle of an obsessed genius with his destiny (in fact, about the creative struggle) - it proves that life is a tragedy and in the grand conclusion, you go down with a mighty confrontation and your ambitions take you down to the depths of the sea - no trace left of either you or your grand dreams except a mist of madness propagated as a half-heard story.

This was profound and it moved me to tears - but it was still grand, was it not? The great struggle, the titanic battle and the heroic capitulation! It was operatic and it was uplifting - even amidst the tragedy, the mighty bellow of man's cry in the face of the unconquerable; that gave me goosebumps.

But Hemingway and his Old Man has turned the story on its head.

It takes you beyond the happily-ever-after of Moby Dick (!) and as always those unchartered waters are beyond description. This alternate universe is much more cruel and much more real. There is no grand confrontation that ends in an inspirational tragedy.

It turns it into a battle of attrition - you are inevitably defeated even in success and life will wear you down and leave no trace of your ambitions.

It makes you battle to the last breaking point of every nerve and sinew and lets you win a hollow victory that you cannot celebrate as life has worn you out too much in your pursuit of your goals and the destiny, the destiny too now seems more and more unreal and you ask yourself if you were even worthy enough to start the battle.

And as you turn back after that jaded victory, then comes the sharks, inevitably, inexorably. And then begins the real battle, not the grand epic, but a doomed, unenthusiastic battle against reality - with the knowledge that no grand ambition can ever succeed.

And the old man tells it for you - "I never should have gone out that far!"

The alternate universe is depressing and it is Zen at the same time, I do not know how. I probably have to read this many more times before any hope, any secret light in it comes to illuminate me - for today, for this reading, Hemingway has depressed me beyond belief and I cannot remember how I always thought of this as an inspirational fable!

The scene in which the restaurant lady sees the bones of the once great fish sums it up for me - In the end you give up hope of success and only wish that at the very least you might be able to bring back a ghost of the fish so that people can see how great your target really was - but all they see is the almost vanished skeleton of your idea; your grand dreams are just so much garbage now and who will have the imagination to see the grandeur it had at its conception?

“They beat me, Manolin,” he said. “They truly beat me.”

“He didn’t beat you. Not the fish.”

“No. Truly. It was afterwards.”
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,321 followers
March 3, 2018
My children and I were crossing a bridge in Rome. Our senses were acutely sharpened. We were aware of each minute spent in this capital of human storytelling, of the neverending drama of human culture and nature in interaction and in occasional clashes. Looking out over the river, my son and I spot the sorry remains of a boat, just the bare metal frame without any "flesh", and we instinctively say at the same time:

"Hemingway's old man!"

We look at each other, smile at our simultaneous association, and start arguing whether or not one can see the fish in the same way as a boat, or whether the destruction of the boat is a more definitive loss. While we are arguing, my younger children are enquiring about the story we discuss, and we give them the details.

"Losing something means you really had it!"

That is their conclusion, and while my eldest son and I start pondering whether or not the younger two are ready for the old man and the sea in Hemingway's own words, we continue walking, and life goes on, and a new generation of Hemingway readers find sense and meaning in his parable on the human struggle.

We feel like saying: "I'm sorry, boat!", in the same way the old man said: "I'm sorry, fish!"

But the fact that it lies there showing its naked metal ribs tells us it truly existed. That's more than nothing. And it is not a bad place for a boat to rest. Just like the old man and the fish are in good hands between the covers of a Hemingway novel.

Nothing's lost as long as we can tell stories about it.

Brilliant parable of man's struggle with nature and himself. Beautifully written. One of my favorite Hemingways.

PS: And a Pulitzer that I don't find disappointing.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,941 reviews605 followers
August 25, 2023
The metaphor of this tale escaped me when I read it (I was undoubtedly too young), but today, it is luminous; for ordinary people, work offers barely enough to live on, given the harshness and risks it represents. So, sharks will regret an essential goal before enjoying it.
Still, the writing (and the time translation) is a model of simplicity and sensitivity.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 18 books1,591 followers
December 28, 2019
Loved this book. One of my favorites. I really don't understand why this book doesn't have a higher overall rating. I like Hemingway and I think this is one of his better ones. I guess it's because it doesn't get in the way of itself like some of his other works. This one is straightforward, great descriptions in a man vs nature story.
Highly recommend.
David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series.
Profile Image for Peter.
2,776 reviews497 followers
July 16, 2019
This is one of my favourite Hemingway books ever. The old fisherman has the catch of his lifetime and loses everything in a hard struggle to nature. Only bits and pieces of the great Marlin remain. What a book and what a powerful prose. A book to take with you on a deserted island. You seldom find so much symbolism condensed in one single and relatively short book. Very emotional and moving. One of my alltime favourites, a timeless classic! Recommended? I would say this is an absolute must read!
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
October 30, 2016
A masterpiece.

Like a fable, this has become a part of our cultural consciousness. Santiago's simple heroism is a benchmark for all who persevere and endure.

Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,263 reviews2,437 followers
April 2, 2023

The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Ernest Hemingway in 1954 for his literary contributions, including this book. So I had huge expectations before picking up this book to read when I was a high school student. I was extremely disappointed by it at that time. It was a simple story told in a simple manner. I couldn't understand what was special about it. It took me ten more years, and a couple more rereads to understand the riveting nature of this book. Many of my friends also had a similar experience. The story of Santiago is something which we can finish reading quickly. It will make us contemplate a lot, and when we understand the deeper meaning in this story, it will stay with us forever as an evergreen memory that we relish.

"Now is no time to think of what you do not have.

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Think of what you can do with that there is.”
Profile Image for leynes.
1,111 reviews3,028 followers
May 3, 2022
A lot of people will hate me for this but I fucking haaaaaate The Old Man and the Sea. It was so boring and yeah I get it, it's an allegory. I don't fucking care.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
October 7, 2022
“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff on the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days without a fish.”

A masterpiece.

I know that many many young people are still forced to read this book in school and don’t quite get what all the hoopla is about, but I think it is not written with young people primarily in mind. There is the boy that supports the old man, true, but as with other stories about old people facing hardship—King Lear comes to mind—I think other stories may connect better for young people. I know I read this as a young man, maybe first at 14, and liked it just fine, then taught it in various settings, and don’t think I appreciated it anywhere as much in any previous reading as I do now. Maybe because now I begin to approach the age of the old man!

“Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the color of the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.”

When I grew up my Dad and his brother Joe took me out fishing for decades, teaching me each time we went out how to fish. Always teaching me. We fished for decades perch and walleye and pike in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, on Lake Manistique. In a boat with a small motor and oars. Or fishing for Coho Salmon and Lake Trout in a larger boat ten-twelve miles out Lake Michigan. Neither of them spoke much in the boat, nor encouraged me to speak, or do much of anything but focus on the fishing lines before me as if in some religious observance. We’d be out on the lake before dawn and get back at dusk. I loved then as now to read, but this was not allowed, really, in the boat. Full concentration was required. I learned how to respond in such a way that I would keep the fish on the line and not allow him to spit out the hook. I learned the very specific strategies for reeling them in. I learned how the fisherman and the fish were in contest, and this required presence in every moment.

“Now alone, and out of sight of land, he was fast to the biggest fish he had ever seen and the biggest he had ever heard of. . .”

I had not read this book for decades, not since my Dad died, now many years ago, so that was part of my reading this time, connecting it to my Dad and fishing with my Dad and Uncle Joe, in a way. I didn’t think much about my own parenting or mentoring, as much, actually, though the book is about that, too.

The book conveys in simple language the fight of one man’s life, for days alone attempting to reel in the largest fish he has ever encountered, who drags him on the line farther and farther out to sea. If you like to fish, this is also a fine book. It’s a Biggest Fish Ever story. And if you like nature, you learn about the importance of the sea and various birds and fish. It's the outdoors, where Hem always preferred to be, a place of purity.

“Blessed Virgin, pray for the death of this fish. As wonderful as he is.”

In the process Hemingway manages to convey several dimensions of his code for living: Courage, humility, endurance, respect for others. And then, it's not about the fish, it's about what it means to be fully human, to the very end. Right, it can be read as allegory.

So, in this match with. . . death, he’s resourceful: “No, no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what you have.”

“I will show him what a man can do and what a man can endure.”

“A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for this book, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. He grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, the nearest west suburb of Chicago. He died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds in Idaho in 1961. I thought of that fact while reading this book, about whether Papa had finally been defeated, out of emotional resources himself at the very end. But as he aged, he wrote one hell of a book about "the human condition," about aging, about the importance of surviving whatever challenges we may face today, about hope and striving, as inspiration for the rest of us.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,462 reviews3,611 followers
October 29, 2020
I believe The Old Man and the Sea reflects Ernest Hemingway’s own life crisis…
Any fishing feats, even picturesquely portrayed, don’t sound like some heroic doings…
The sun was rising for the third time since he had put to sea when the fish started to circle. He could not see by the slant of the line that the fish was circling. It was too early for that. He just felt a faint slackening of the pressure of the line and he commenced to pull on it gently with his right hand. It tightened, as always, but just when he reached the point where it would break, line began to come in. He slipped his shoulders and head from under the line and began to pull in line steadily and gently. He used both of his hands in a swinging motion and tried to do the pulling as much as he could with his body and his legs. His old legs and shoulders pivoted with the swinging of the pulling.

If the caught fish, however big, is man’s greatest achievement then his life is frittered away…
Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
June 18, 2017
Ernest Hemingway is considered one of the masters of American 20th century fiction. Garnering from his life experiences, his novels reflect on his time as a newspaper reporter and correspondent in a Europe during both the inner war and war years. A member of the lost generation, Hemingway was the first of his group to have a major work published. In addition to all of the accolades bestowed upon him, Hemingway is considered along Steinbeck to be a master storyteller, especially of short stories. The crowning achievement to an illustrious career, The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1952, less than ten years before Hemingway's death.

Santiago is an older fisherman in Havana. He is content fishing and contemplating on his life while finding out the daily baseball scores. His favorite ball player is Joe DiMaggio because his father was a famed fisherman. As a younger man, Santiago was considered the strongest man in Havana, one time outlasting a negro from Cienfuegos in a twenty four hour arm wrestling duel. Yet, despite his fame and accomplishments as a fisherman, Santiago's luck has run out on hm. As an older man, her needs help from a boy to complete his daily fishing hauls and tasks, and has not caught a fish in 84 days. In spite of this run of poor luck, Santiago still returns to the seas on a daily basis, hopeful to catch the big fish that has alluded him for his entire life.

Because of lack of successes, his boy has turned to another, lucky fishing boat. Santiago has to go at it alone, with only two fishing lines and baits. Determined to catch that big one, he sets out even with the dangers of sea, especially sharks, knowing that each journey into the water could be his last. Yet, this is subsistence and sustenance for many people on an island, so Santiago persists at his task. His voyage for the big fish becomes more than a fishing trip but his contemplating life, bestowing his wisdom on both the fishing trade and life knowledge on the younger generations. This is without the assurance that he will even catch a fish or if this determination to catch the big one will be his last voyage.

From this 120 page novella, one can see glimpses of Hemingway's greatness. His sentences are full of imagery and imparting the wisdom of a rich life. As an older man, he himself enjoyed fishing and Santiago mirrors how Hemingway spent his later life. I have read a number of Pulitzers, and while the writing of this novella is enriching, I am left wondering if perhaps Hemingway won the award here as a crowning jewel on his life body of work. The story was captivating and full of messages yet a novella, rather than a novel. Perhaps, unbeknownst to me, this powerful novella was the best work of fiction in its given year and worthy of the award.

In my quest to read the Pulitzers, I am glad that I was finally lead to read Hemingway. It is clear to me that he is a master of his craft, and I look forward to reading his further work. The Old Man and the Sea looks back on an enriching life and won Hemingway a deserving award, if not for his lifetime of writing. As a lovely story and another Pulitzer I can check off my list, The Old Man and the Sea rates 4 powerful stars.
Profile Image for Nicole.
509 reviews14.3k followers
May 16, 2022
Czytałam tę książkę w gimnazjum (była moją lekturą) i choć teraz zrozumiałam ją nieco lepiej, to i tak cieszę się, że zdecydowałam się na audio. W papierze mogło być ciężej.
Styl Hemingwaya jest świetny i bardzo dobrze mi się z nim obcuje, ale uważam, że nie powinno się wymagać od czytelnika przeczytania opracowania, aby w pełni zrozumieć historię.
Brawa dla lektora Krzysztofa Gosztyły.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,452 reviews2,397 followers
June 21, 2023
The Old Man and The Sea is a short story by Ernest Hemingway which talks about an old lonely fisherman who was being shunned as he was considered bad luck when it comes to fishing and those who live around. Except for a young boy who takes care that he sleeps, eats and carry on with his normal daily routine, the old man lives a rather lonely life who takes pleasure in talking about baseball and his old fishing adventures.

The plot revolves around two days and nights when he sets out to get hold of a big fish being unable to haul it alone and getting carried by the fish until he reaches the shore.

I enjoyed reading about this character who's symbolic of resilience, loneliness, adventurous spirit and the writing is thoroughly engaging till the end.

I feel how the book ends leaves m the readers as how to interpret the story in their own terms, mine being the main character showed what he could do inspite of all the challenges and the constant criticism he was facing.

This is my second read from the author, the first being A Farewell To Arms which I read years ago and loved it inspite of the unlikeable main character. Looking forward to read more of the author's work.

The author's life story is pretty interesting as well. Love how this book's introduction gave a short information on the author.
Profile Image for Jibran.
224 reviews664 followers
October 28, 2015
My big fish must be somewhere.

Many years ago when I read The Old Man and the Sea I thought it was going nowhere, that it was too simple and ordinary to be of any consequence. On a second reading, however, my view changed and I ended up loving it. What I mistook for repetition was a literary device for emphasis and the boat, like the story, that I judged to be unmoving in the rolling seas was caught in a whirlpool churning the waters in its depth so that the boat and the old man at the sea were never at rest till the end.

Although grounds for comparison do not exist, reading this novella, Orhan Pamuk came to mind. It's their ability to weave the many similar threads of narrative into a stunning improvisatory whole that turns a small, and prima facie simple, scenario that might be covered in a few pages into an expanded mass of words that transcends the boundaries of its immediate context to inform on larger human struggle. Repetition or artistic improvisation, when done well, is fascinating and here Orhan Pamuk and Ernest Hemingway appear brothers-in-arms. You start with a pin prick of a view that widens and opens out into a wide vista giving you a clear view of the clutter of human ethos.

Like his so many stories it's a tale of a heroic struggle but only inasmuch as a frail-legged ant suffers to get a tiny lump of sugar to its colony to claim its superiority on the lesser types. A knackered old man dreaming on the seas of a big catch in a boat fit for the axe of a lumberjack with a young boy for a helper do not evoke the romantic world of heroic battles fought by the gun-wielding machismo of Hemingway's other stories. This is something simpler in its setting yet more profound in its humanistic import.

A piece of writing - a prose story or a poem - becomes great because it has no single, fixed, literal meaning that forbids imagination. It is the reader who picks up the idea consistent with the subjective conditions of his own worldview, interpreting the text, changing it, and then getting changed by it in turn. This novella lends itself to interpretation on multiple levels and, for its rich imagery of natural elements and human emotions, remains one of the very best Hemingway offered us.

October 2015
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