The Old Man and the Sea
In The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, we come to know Santiago, an old and poor fisherman who lives in a coastal villa of a seafaring tradition. We also meet Manolo, a boy who loves the old man, who keeps him company while fishing and delivers him his food and a newspaper with the baseball scores, a hobby shared by both. However, after forty days without catching a single fish, Manolo’s parents order him to accompany another fisherman… one with better luck. However, even after eighty-four days without capturing a single fish, Manolo continues to assist the old man in everything he can without disobeying his parents. On day eighty-five Santiago goes out fishing and encounters a large fish. The old man, far from letting it escape, starts fighting with the vigorous fish moving further offshore with the sole objective of bringing the fish to the port.
In the beginning, the plot interested me a lot, I thought it was alluring to read this story from the hands of Hemingway, an author that I had not yet had the pleasure to read. In addition, the reduced number of pages (150) and the large print edition of the pocket book edition is directly related to the time that I have these days to read. So loaded with expectations and filled with enthusiasm I started to read the book.
Courage, patience and strength are of crucial importance throughout the story, becoming the three elements that characterize the body of the story. The old man is determined to kill the fish and has no doubt in sailing away from the coast. His objective becomes, in my opinion, his obsession: he does not even rest because of the risk of losing his precious prey. He misses Manolo, who’s his light and hope at all times.
Although the book is very short and I read it in just two days, the pages that tell the odyssey the old man goes through with his fight to kill that fish was a journey that took exactly how long Santiago was at sea. Hemingway provides such detail and immutability through the length of the story to make the fisherman’s patience one with the patience of the reader and the fight the fisherman becomes the reader’s fight.
The appreciation that the young man felt towards old Manolo and vice versa really grabbed my attention. They both help each other: the boy takes care of the old man and the old man reads the newspaper with the baseball results and teaches the young man everything he knows about fishing.
The moral of the story might be that if we achieve our objective, no matter how precious it is, the ultimate consequence is that it becomes useless. The Old Man and The Sea is a parable on courage and the fight against nature’s invincibility.