Book Thoughts: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

the old man and the sea

“Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?”

The Old Man and the Sea  is Ernest Hemingway’s last published work of fiction in his lifetime. It is basically just about what the title says, about an old man and the sea but let’s not forget to include the fish. I think the main theme of the book is the old man’s exceptional resilience and perseverance. He wanted to prove to people and especially to himself that he’s still the fisherman that he used to be. That old age will not hinder him in his goal. The minimalist prose and narrative style fits the simplicity of the story.

(Spoilers ahead!)

At the start, we are introduced to the old man and the boy who was helping him. Due to bad luck, for not catching any fish for 84 days, the boy was prevented by his parents to stay with the old man. He was alone after that, but I as a reader stayed with him and witnessed his struggles. And I sympathized with him. I rooted for him to go on even though it feels hopeless. But after a long time of difficulty, this reader lost hope. There came a point that even I wanted him to give up. I pitied him. I didn’t want to read about what he’s going through anymore. But the old man didn’t stop. In my head I was saying, “You won’t catch a fish. And you’re old! Can’t you just go home and rest?” And then, yay! How happy I had been when he finally caught the fish. And then how affected I was, even felt like crying, when little by little, the sharks ate the fish. But in the end, his main goal was accomplished. He proved to himself and to others that he can still catch a fish, and a very big fish it was. He had his evidence and he got the respect that he deserves. And I was happy that the boy came back.

(3.5/5 stars)

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Goal Completed: Literary Hippies (A Beginner’s Guide)

Another category that I completed from the TFG Filipino ReaderCon 2013 Recommendations List.

literary_hippies
photo from Goodreads – The Filipino Group

1. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – (5/5) . Read in August 2014. Each of the 6 stories has an exciting plot and can exist on their own. But despite the differences in settings and genre, each is connected to the other. The unconventional structure and the theme of recurrence and connectedness amazed me.

2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – (3/5) . Read in September 2013. Awful subject but not explicit. Intriguing and interesting narrative. One of my first literary books and I think deserves a reread.

3. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – (3.5/5) . Read in June 2015. A short book about “The Old Man and The Sea”. And the fish. Minimalist prose and plot structure matching the simplicity of the story. The resilience and determination of the main character is exceptional.

4. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – (5/5) . Read in January 2014. An intersex narrator telling his story that started from his parents and grandparents. Heart-felt narration of pain and confusion. An impressive family saga.

5. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster – (4/5) . Read in November 2013. Never failed to keep me thinking while reading and more so after each part. Unusual but admirable creation of characters. An intellectual mystery.

With the Infinite Feels category, I suppose these could be two of my favorite genres, as I was more interested and completed them first. But as the title said, with literary books, I still consider myself a beginner.