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Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea


THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. By Ernest Hemingway. Arrow Books. Great Britain. 1993. xxx. 109 p.

Soft-bound, this book has blue front and back covers. The front page has the following details: “AN ARROW CLASSIC/ ERNEST HEMINGWAY/ The Old Man and the Sea.” The back cover has several brief good reviews from Sunday Times, Listener, Anthony Burgess, and then Guardian.

The first page states, “Ernest Miller Hemingway was born in 1899. His father was a doctor and he was the second of six children. Their home was at Oak Park, a Chicago suburb. In 1917, Hemingway joined the Kansas City Star as a cub reporter. The following year he volunteered to work as an ambulance driver on the Italian front where he was badly wounded but twice decorated for his services. He returned to America in 1919 and married in 1921…”

“The Old Man and the Sea” is about an old fisherman named Santiago who sails for 84 days without a catch. Santiago has dreams. And later he catches a giant marlin that is the biggest catch of his life. He has a young apprentice named Manolin who believes in the old man. Manolin’s parents do not want him to sail with Santiago because of his (Santiago's) unluckiness in fishing.

When I was reading this book, I found this story simple. But even if this may sound simple,reading between the lines, it has a deeper meaning. Upon research, I found out that this story has “symbolism of character.” It allows various interpretations.

Each of the characters, including the fish, symbolizes real-life people and characteristics, and the deeper meaning of this story lies in these. My own interpretation is that Santiago is a picture of humility and patience. Manolin is one character that is of obedience and kindness. The big fish symbolizes the obstacles that we human beings undergo all the time; no matter how big and impossible these obstacles, are, we can beat them through positive thinking and virtues.
Annabelle R. Villanueva

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