Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. In World War I he served as a Red Cross ambulance driver until he was severely wounded in action. His experience from the war led him to writing his first famous novel A Farewell to Arms. By writing this he started to be considered a member of "lost generation" It was a group of writers, in the 1920's, who lost their illusions after the First World War.
During his life Hemingway travelled a lot, for example to Spain, Africa, and Florida, gaining material for his future works through his experiences. He loved bull-fights( a novel Death in the Afternoon) , hunting in Africa (The Green Hills of Africa) , and deep sea fishing. He served as a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, which eventually became the background for his novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, and World War II. Hemingway's short novelle The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, and after that the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. By the 1960's, however, Hemingway was ill, depressed, and losing his memory, and he committed suicide in Ketchum, Idaho on July 2, 1961.
The story of the novelle The Old Man and the Sea is located in the small fishing village near Havana, Cuba .The main character is an old fisherman named Santiago and his only friend a young boy named Manolin. Santiago had bad luck and was starving because he had not caught a fish in last eighty-four days. That was why the parents of Manolin prohibited him to work with that old poor man and they ordered him to join a more successful fishing boat. However, the boy kept in touch with Santiago meeting him and helping him in secrecy. Nevertheless, Santiago had to set out alone to go fishing. He felt premonition he would have good luck that day. Reaching the open sea far out in the Gulf Stream he caught a fish. It was a giant marlin. At that moment started an extraordinary battle of the old man with the enormous fish. Three and a half day was the ship of the old man drawn by the huge marlin. Finally the marlin was so tired so the old man killed it with a harpoon. He could not believe he had managed to catch a nearly five meters long fish. He set off the journey back to the port. As he was sailing, a group of sharks was getting near and near to his boat. The sharks started to eat the fish. Although the old man fought against them until he dropped with fatigue, only a skeleton remained. When he came back to the port completely exhausted, the giant skeleton was the only testimony to his great catch.
The story shows a neverending struggle of a man with a nature. It reveals an inside power of a man, his courage, his effort to achieve his aim in spite of any troubles. So the conclusion is : “ A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”
I liked this book because it shows not only a battle of a man with the natural world represented by the marlin, sharks, the sea, but also a battle with himself. The story gives us a proof that a man is able to face very difficult situations in his life and is able to accomplish a lot of things if he really wants to.
20. prosinec 2007