The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

June 15, 2010
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Favorite Quote:
I think, therefore I am.

In the past year, I have enjoyed the English novel of The Old Man and The Sea which is the masterpiece of the great American author, Ernest Hemingway, most. The story depicts failing to take any fish in 84 days, an old fisherman named Santiago spared no effort to catch a large fish which had never been caught by him before without the help of others. But on the return journey, he happened to meet the swarm of the sharks which completely destroyed the fantastic fish, and the fisherman had to have a furious fight with these devils. In the end, with his strong confidence and will, he came back safely. The addictive plots, sophisticated writing technique as well as the spirit of the fisherman can be the reasons of my preference.

To begin with, plots of this novel are really charming. At the start of the novel, the bad situation (the absence of getting any fish for a long time) is told. And this could be interpreted as the prediction of the exciting experience. And after ending the fight with the big fish, Santiago’s monolog which displays the fear of the sharks could also predict the appearance of them. So from these two examples, it is a semi-suspense novel, and this trait enables The Old Man and The Sea to be exciting and luring. Taking me as an instance, I have already read it three years ago. But when I picked it up yesterday, I was indulged in it just as I have never heard anything about it. So the consequence about this is that I read it over again without any disruption. Besides the novel bears one climax follows another. As a whole, the story is fluctuant. It starts with quite ambience. Then the drastic process of catching the fish ignites our passion. After that it reveals the cheerful and calm success. But without a little moment, the intense fight with the sharks inspires our excitement and worry once more. Finally, the story gradually ends up in the joyful circumstance. So all of these changes intrigue the readers’ interest. And it also enables The Old Man and The Sea to be considered the classic.

Second the sophisticated writing technique is a significant factor as well. The telegram like style has been honored for a long time. And I could understand it through this novel. Hemingway used the line drawing to describe the old man. This method which is simple not only describes the appearance of Santiago, but also indicates his abundant experience and insistent character. Meanwhile it reflects the iceberg principle which means that we could be informed the coming of the fall, when we see the first flickering yellow leave.

Furthermore, it is the spirit of Santiago that impresses me. I was moved by the adamancy of Santiago. The beginning of the novel has indicated that this fisherman is old and weak. And the process of getting the fish and the combat with sharks contradict the former announcement. Forming the contrast, the clinging trait is clear. In addition, the story ends with the scene “Up the road, in his shack, the old man was sleeping again. He was still sleeping on his face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The old man was dreaming about the lions. ” The lions in the dream are the symbolization of the youth and the energy. The emotion and the spirit of the old fisherman could be felt by the readers.

Finally, let me summarize the novel with a sentence from it “But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

The author's comments:
The masterpiece of Ernest Hemingway always enables me to work harder and never to give up.

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