Alternate Opinion: The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway

Read time: about 2 minutes

It was during the different kinds of work done during the Great War where the author had decided that he was going to write a story about a fisherman and a boat. He was quite fascinated with the idea but never got around to writing the story until towards the end of his writing career. This short novella won him the Pulitzer Prize and a year later Nobel prize for his career in literature. Hemingway found a lot of admiration for this short fiction which is still read decades after it was published first.

This is a story of an old fisherman who has run out of luck. He has gone 83 days without catching a fish. The boy who used to accompany the old man was also ordered by his family to work for other fishermen. The man is all alone patiently waiting for his next capture. It is true that in old age you are always lonely. It is inevitable. But he refuses to lose hope and prepares for the next capture. The next day he sets sail again to capture a marlin and the way he does it! It is a marvelous narration. The heart goes to the fisherman for his determination. The next task is to bring the fish in and this too while he is lost in the sea. His Marlin gets eaten by the sharks on the way while he fights for the last piece of its meat.

The highlight of the story is the portrayal of the emotions. The undulations are deep. There are also psychological shadows seen during the story. The never staggering determination wins the story.

The need to talk to someone, to be one’s own guide and well-wisher, the constant need to share a relationship with someone are all that makes the story worth Reading. It is also a depiction of changing faith in the face of adversity. A parallel of drawn with Jesus quite often. There is also an iron heart of a fisherman who respects his kill and does not let it go easily. A mutilated marlin is ugly to look at but it is still his kill.

This is definitely one of the best books I have read, ever. It reminds you of the simplicity of Kafka and the narration of Gabriel García Márquez. I resolved to at least read one classic a month and this is definitely a great start! Read the detailed review of the book by Pooja here.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH