The Old Man and the Sea
“Stařec a moře“
-published in 1952
When the World War II ended, Hemingway settled in Cuba. During this period of his life, he talked with many of the fishermen. One story gave him the idea for this short novel.
- main characteristics: Old Cuban fisherman Santiago: He was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. The brown blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling the heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert. Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same colour as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.
Small boy Manolin:Man’s faithful and self-sacrificing helper.
The novel tells of an old Cuban fisherman Santiago who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream. He had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the boy should go in another - luckier - boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him with his sail which was patched and furled, and it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.
Next day Santiago decided to go far from the coast. He rowed for a very long time and suddenly he saw one of the projecting green sticks dip sharply. He encouraged the fish to eat the sardines and the tuna. He knew that the fish had to be huge because he was very experienced fisherman. It was MARLIN. The marlin was very strong and he pulled the skiff far to the ocean.
Suddenly a lot of sharks appeared near the skiff. They started to attack the marlin and they were breaking the meat off his body. Santiago was full of resolution, but he had little hope. They were the sharks that had no fear and would do exactly what they wished.
The novel is the story of the old man’s struggle with the fish, of his final victory which turns into defeat as sharks attack the catch and reduce it to a skeleton.
The story ends with the words, „Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.“ - and that’s the message of this novel
In my opinion this novel is excellent. Maybe the description of the man’s struggle with the fish hadn’t to be so lengthy but then perhaps, it wouldn’t be so realist. But I think that the story and the message is great, because it mades the reader to think about it, and that’s right.