The Old Man and the Sea

old man and the sea

The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway, published in 1952. 112 pages.

This weekend, I decided to read this short novel from Hemingway for a couple of reasons. The first is his poetic way of describing natural beauty, and the second is because this is a very short book, and I was guaranteed to finish it off in less than two days. It is a very satisfying man vs. nature novella.

Santiago is an old fisherman, once successful, who has experienced a long run of bad luck on the seas. For a time, the young boy Manolin was his apprentice fisherman, and caretaker on and off the boat. However, since Santiago has gone for so long without catching any fish, his parents forbid him from fishing with him any longer. They send him to apprentice with more successful fishermen.

Manolin obeys his parents, but his heart is still with old Santiago, and he checks in on the solitary fisherman every morning and every night. He makes sure that he eats, gets him his morning coffee, and they talk baseball. Both love Joe Dimaggio.

One morning Santiago heads out early, determined that it will be the day his luck turns around. He loads his skiff and sails out farther than he normally would, following the current and the birds overhead who seem to indicate a place where he’ll find a large school of fish.

The thing I love about this book, despite having zero experience with sailing, is the way the sea is almost a character all its own. This was something I noticed when reading The Lion’s Paw and Captains Courageous as well. Here, Hemingway contrasts the way older fishermen like Santiago and younger fishermen characterize the sea:

He [Santiago] always thought of the sea as la mar, which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things about of her but they are always said as though she were a woman. Some of the younger fishermen, those who used buoys as floats for their lines and had motorboats, bought when the shark livers had brought much money, spoke of her as el mar, which is masculine. They spoke of her as a contestant or a place or even an enemy. But the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought. p.29-30

Leaving aside the political correctness or lack thereof in Hemingway’s description, it’s a poetically beautiful description of the sea which gives the reader a vivid picture of how much the old man loves her.

On the day when he goes far out to sea, his luck does indeed turn. He hooks a gigantic marlin, so large that it pulls him farther and farther out to sea. He holds on to marlin, suffering intense pain, hunger, and discomfort for two days. In the end…

You’ll just have to read it, which you can do for free right here. It’s so short that the only thing left is the ending, and I don’t want to spoil it for you!

4 out of 5 stars.

 

 

Friday Faves: Articles of the Week

I’m thinking Friday Faves might be a regular installment, so if there is any topic you think might be fun to include, suggest it as a possible Friday Fave post. It doesn’t have to be reading or education related. It can include any number of things that go on in the life between the reading.

Here are a few of the posts I’ve read over the past week that have stuck with me in one way or another. Most are about reading and educaton issues, but not all, and that’s a requirement for the list. For this week, they’re among my faves.

  • Thinkspot and the Rise of Long-Tail Social Media: When Cal Newport first wrote about long-tail social media, I had to look it up. It was something I’d never heard before, although I realize that I have been a part of things like it before. The brain-child of Jordan Peterson, Thinkspot is offering a different way. It sounds a lot better as an option for discussing common interests than Twitter. I really dislike Twitter. Anything that can be used to destroy someone’s life because of what they believe needs to be usurped and tossed for a better alternative. Let’s hope long-tail social media catches on if we’re going to have social media at all.
  • The Mis-Education at Garvey’s Ghost: As usual, Sondjata cuts through the bull surrounding the achievement gap and asks the hard questions. I’m not always 100% in agreement with him about things, but I always appreciate his intellectual honesty, and I do agree with him on a great many issues.
  • Is Classical Education Just a Fad? Joshua Gibbs asks what we are to make of the recent surge in schools dedicated to the classical education model. I for one don’t think it’s a fad because it stands in stark contrast to current educational dogma and norms, but we’ll see. Gibbs offers his take in this piece.
  • This is Why Your Library Doesn’t Own the E-book You Want: Krysta at Pages Unbound discussses the tug of war between local libraries and major publishing companies which are steadily increasing the prices of electronic book offerings. It’s an interesting conversation; at least to those of us who are invested in the library system.
  • Impure Motives of Purity Culture Critics: Rod Dreher examines the harshness with which many Christians condemn so-called purity culture, and reaches a conclusion that I agree with. There are legitimate issues to be had with formulaic approaches to the faith which ignore the fact that a good many people in the current culture have no framework in which to put chastity to begin with. But a lot of Christians condemn all attempts to encourage modesty and chastity on order to excuse their own behavior.

Those are a few of the interesting links I’ve read over the past week. I’ll be moving all of these posts over to the links worth a look page where there are other interesting linked articles.

Have a great weekend!