The Old Man and the Sea


This book that won Hemingway Nobel Prize is about inner struggle, endurance, pride. It’s a rather short story: 99 pages. I bought it in an Italian bookstore in Milan and finished within 2 days on the trip.

This is the second book I read from Hemingway, who is famous for his simple but powerful style of writing: the sentences are short, and easy to understand, other than few words here and there on fish/boat that were absolutely necessary to this story. The first one I read from him was “Fiesta”, probably better known as “The Sun also rises”, a pretty fucked-up love story with the “Lost generation”.

Even the title is “The Old Man and the Sea”, the story is really about the old man and his fishing experience on the sea during a couple of days. But probably the title he chose sounds better and leaves a deeper impression.Hemingway was fond of fishing himself, that’s probably where the knowledge of fishing in the book is coming from.

The book mentioned about proof, to prove the old man can still fish and do it, keeping the glory of youth. “The thousand times that he had proved it meant nothing. Now he was proving it again. Each time was a new time and he never thought about the past when he was doing it.” In a sense, the old man is fighting the age. Is the difficulty facing the old age that really let Hemingway make up his mind to suicide at 62?

The old man was alone and he thought frequently “if the boy were here”. But he accepts and respects the lonelyness. That’s a proof of maturity.

It is interesting, that the fishing experience is a whole is telling us, if we’re into something, this something will consume or even kill us. The old man, after days on the sea dragged by the fish, was wondering who was fishing/bringing who. Aren’t we all kind of fisherman, after all?

As usual, the author left in this book quite a number of deep and meaningful sentences, such as:

A man can’t be defeated but not be destroyed.

First you borrow. Then you beg.

And pain does not matter to a man.

Keep you head clear and know how to suffer like a man.

Nothing is easy.

I’m glad we don’t have to try to kill the stars.

But I have had worse things than that.

But I must think. Because this is all I have left.

Everything kills everything else in some way.

Now is not time to think what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.

Luck is a thing that comes in many forms and who can recognize her?