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Reading Hemingway ocean-wise

Updated on February 26, 2017

It is brilliant in its intensity and portrayal. Another classic for Earnest Hemingway author of the Old Man and The Sea characterized by its sheer audacity, endurance, determination and the sense of outraging power.

The Old Man and the Sea is a gripping tale between an old man, the deep blue waters and the beasts of the sea. In his well constructed narrative Hemingway portrays the survival instincts between man, nature, and the living sea which is full of mysteries, in a sentence-by-sentence detail he keeps the reader on the edge of his seat waiting for the rolling narrative.

Dejected but unbowed the fishing season had not been going well for the old man, but despite this he goes after his livelihood with a sense of excitement, unusual flurry, gallantry and trepidation that this time he will catch, be proud, sell and once again maintain his status.

There is no sense of remorse or sadness in his tone, but an underlying power that gives him faith about his role as fisherman and a skipper. The deep blue sea was his and his alone as he strives to his inner depth reaching the big wide ocean, a place that no fisherman would go to.

This time it was either for the big catch or no catch at all, it was kill or be killed. At sea he bides his time, waiting, looking, going further into the deep blue, sleeping overnight and then and in an almost finale he makes his big catch, a huge fish.

This is the first test of endurance and determination as the old man tightens the ropes, using his whole shoulders and body to control the large fish that is frantically moving around the boat but unable to escape from the untiring clench.

It’s a pursuit, a mouse and cat game at sea that finally ends with the big fish being mellowed to the will of the old man who begins the process of toeing it for the home journey. But an incredible game hunt is initiated because the fish is bludgeoned with blood seeping from its body into the ocean. The chase begins as a pack of sharks begin to hover around the boat.

He fights one shark, but he is soon followed by another, and another, then they come in threes, fighting the old man while tearing at the fish. The old man's fight with the sharks is graphic, there is a rich description of a man-single-handedly hitting with his ores at the sharks, moving from one side of the skip to another beating the mammals one by one despite his exhaustion.

Words just jump off the pages in a litany of excitement adding bounty to a series of fights at sea between were man is confronted by nature, beating some of its aspects but mellowing with it.

The book is timeless in imagination about a relationship between an old man and his love for sea. During the riding of the waves the old man continues to talk to himself about the necessity of catching the big fish with a sense of sublime determination in his voice that shows him in complete possessions of his faculties.


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    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 6 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      It is brilliant isn't it. I should have read it much earlier, and I might have learned something on determination and tenacity.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      I read this book in one of my English classes at university. Brilliant and simple. Great hub!

    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 6 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      Incredible, a bombastic anticlimax

    • profile image

      Marcella Glenn 6 years ago from PA

      A timeless tale that still holds the imagination.