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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIs shortest and best novel
Believed by many to have been written at the time of Hemingway's innermost struggles, this story provided proof that Hemingway could indeed write a classic after so many years. The Old Man And The Sea tells the story of an aging Cuban fisherman who has gone over eighty days without catching one fish. This string of bad luck comes after having made a career out of fishing...
Published on Sept. 21 2006 by Kathy (Kath4)

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than I remember from high school
There's just too much minute fishing detail going on in this story, and not enough of it is interesting. Hemingway writes well here, even though I've never cared for his style, the almost staccato short, declarative sentences. It's certainly more elegant here than in "The Sun Also Rises," (I've never cared for his dialogue), but we're talking about more than 100 pages...
Published on May 4 2004 by Luis M. Luque


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIs shortest and best novel, Sept. 21 2006
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
Believed by many to have been written at the time of Hemingway's innermost struggles, this story provided proof that Hemingway could indeed write a classic after so many years. The Old Man And The Sea tells the story of an aging Cuban fisherman who has gone over eighty days without catching one fish. This string of bad luck comes after having made a career out of fishing in the Gulf Stream. Resisting those who offered help, the old man sets out to sea and indeed catches a giant Marlin. But the story does not stop there. Despite having hooked the Marlin, the old man remains in his boat trying to hold on to the fishing line and his mortality, while the Marlin perseveres in its attempt to escape death. While holding on and writhing in pain, the old man learns more about himself than he ever had before. His spirituality and empathy for others reaches an apex, and his graciousness in defeat reveals the identity of his character. The Old Man And The Sea is a story of revival and hope, followed by reality and defeat. This novel stands out as incredibly well written, a common characteristic of Hemingway novels and short stories. Despite being a short read, this short story leaves the reader with much more to ponder. The Old Man And the Sea is an excellent selection for anyone who can read between the lines. It proves itself as a classic that cannot be ignored. Also recommended: -----katzenjammer -----by Jackson McCrae, totally different but fun like Heller or Sedaris's works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Failure in Success: a hard life lesson, Aug. 3 2005
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
Santiago is an old man. He was once a great fisherman, but no longer. The other fishermen ridicule him, or ignore him. Eighty days without a fish, and the parents of the small boy who helps him, Manolin, have forbidden him to work with Santiago any more. He is unlucky, they say, and the word is echoed around town.
But the old fisherman does not mind. He knows that life is difficult, that not everything goes the way you wish it would. On the eighty-fifth day, he sets out into the water, alone, and hooks a great fish. 'Never have I had such a strong fish nor one who acted so strangely', he muses to himself, early on in the battle. For it is a battle. The fish he has caught is strong, has great endurance, and a cunning that Santiago admires.
As time passes, he starts to talk to himself more and more. He muses on the strength of the fish, and how they are brothers. He desperately wants to catch it, so that he can return to Havana with some glory and enough money to sit and listen to the 'great DiMaggio' on the radio, in peace. But he also admires the fish, and gradually, he becomes unsure as to whether he has made the right decision in trying so hard to kill it.
'Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who.'
Santiago is an old man, a man who has accepted his weaknesses and failures, but who also knows his strengths. He has a great confidence in his own abilities, but it is a weary, hesitant confidence that is difficult to explain. On the one hand, he knows that he has the capability to capture the fish. He has caught large fish before, and, thanks to the raw fish he has been eating, considers that he has the strength to keep going, for ever if necessary. But he protests and cajoles and pleads at his individual body parts to work, for them not to fail. 'Hold up, legs. Last for me, head. Last for me. You never went.' He knows he can do it, but, because of his age and the majesty of his 'brother', he is worried that maybe this time, this fish will be the one that got away.
Hemingway's writing is sparse and effective. Sentences are short, sharp, and have very little in the way of flowery words or fancy punctuation. The writing suits the story very well, because Santiago is an up and down man himself. What you see is what you get, both in the characters, the setting, and the writing. There is also the interesting effect where, due to the simplicity of the writing and the sparse selection of characters, the story can be interpreted on many levels. On one, it is the story of man struggling and fighting for something that, once achieved, we cannot hold on to. On the other, it is the sadness and inevitability of age. Or the insignificance of the single man in today's group-action world. Or many other interpretations.
The ending is sad, beautiful and completely appropriate. Could the novel have ended any other way? Yes, but I argue that if it had, then the message, the electricity, the purpose that Hemingway had been building for the previous 90 pages, this would have been lost with the easy, happy solution. Instead, we have man's failure in success, and Santiago's calm acceptance, and it is inspiring. Pick up a copy of this thoughtful, beautifully written novel. Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Hemingway, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition," a somewhat raw, but oddly engaging little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumph of the Bare Necessities, June 8 2004
By 
Garry L. Morey (Verona, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Old Man And The Sea (Hardcover)
This book is a triumph of the bare necessities. The old man goes far out to sea in a flimsy wooden boat, fishing with only a hook, line and bait. Alone, he manages to catch a thousand-pound, eighteen-foot marlin. A life and death struggle ensues as the old man works the fish for days trying to bring it in, but his struggle has only begun as he has to battle the sharks in order to keep his prize.
Like the old man in his story, Hemingway uses only the bare necessities. This is a textbook example of how to write a short story--not one wasted word. The conflict of man versus nature is a timeless one, but Hemingway's is a classic because he does so much with so little.
Could a story like this one be written today? And if it were, would any publishing house print it? What--no sex, no violence, no angry young men showing how tough they are by threatening and swearing at one another, no liberal idealists purveying an underlying political message, no sorcerers, magic or monsters. Where's the entertainment in that?
The beauty of The Old Man and the Sea is its pure and simple realism. No fluff, no filler material, no publisher's formula fiction, just a timeless classic told by a master of the short story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Failure in Success: a hard life lesson, June 26 2005
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
Santiago is an old man. He was once a great fisherman, but no longer. The other fishermen ridicule him, or ignore him. Eighty days without a fish, and the parents of the small boy who helps him, Manolin, have forbidden him to work with Santiago any more. He is unlucky, they say, and the word is echoed around town.
But the old fisherman does not mind. He knows that life is difficult, that not everything goes the way you wish it would. On the eighty-fifth day, he sets out into the water, alone, and hooks a great fish. 'Never have I had such a strong fish nor one who acted so strangely', he muses to himself, early on in the battle. For it is a battle. The fish he has caught is strong, has great endurance, and a cunning that Santiago admires.
As time passes, he starts to talk to himself more and more. He muses on the strength of the fish, and how they are brothers. He desperately wants to catch it, so that he can return to Havana with some glory and enough money to sit and listen to the 'great DiMaggio' on the radio, in peace. But he also admires the fish, and gradually, he becomes unsure as to whether he has made the right decision in trying so hard to kill it.
'Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who.'
Santiago is an old man, a man who has accepted his weaknesses and failures, but who also knows his strengths. He has a great confidence in his own abilities, but it is a weary, hesitant confidence that is difficult to explain. On the one hand, he knows that he has the capability to capture the fish. He has caught large fish before, and, thanks to the raw fish he has been eating, considers that he has the strength to keep going, for ever if necessary. But he protests and cajoles and pleads at his individual body parts to work, for them not to fail. 'Hold up, legs. Last for me, head. Last for me. You never went.' He knows he can do it, but, because of his age and the majesty of his 'brother', he is worried that maybe this time, this fish will be the one that got away.
Hemingway's writing is sparse and effective. Sentences are short, sharp, and have very little in the way of flowery words or fancy punctuation. The writing suits the story very well, because Santiago is an up and down man himself. What you see is what you get, both in the characters, the setting, and the writing. There is also the interesting effect where, due to the simplicity of the writing and the sparse selection of characters, the story can be interpreted on many levels. On one, it is the story of man struggling and fighting for something that, once achieved, we cannot hold on to. On the other, it is the sadness and inevitability of age. Or the insignificance of the single man in today's group-action world. Or many other interpretations.
The ending is sad, beautiful and completely appropriate. Could the novel have ended any other way? Yes, but I argue that if it had, then the message, the electricity, the purpose that Hemingway had been building for the previous 90 pages, this would have been lost with the easy, happy solution. Instead, we have man's failure in success, and Santiago's calm acceptance, and it is inspiring. Pick up a copy of this thoughtful, beautifully written novel. Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Hemingway, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition," a somewhat raw, but oddly engaging little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Big Fish, April 10 2005
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
I normally stick with a current bestseller, such as "Life of Pi" or Jackson McCrae's "Children's Corner," but instead wanted to do some scholarly reading and picked "Old Man" instead. There is no mistaking the vast religious symbols in " The Old Man and the Sea". First the book starts out with a fisherman teaching a boy basic values and good behavior. Then Santiago (the "old man") goes out and upon catching the fish slashes his hands, symbolizing the nails Jesus encountered, the cuts on his back that symbolized the whipping Jesus endured, and the horrible headache that hit the heat struck old man during the fight, that symbolized the crown of thorns that Jesus was forced to wear during the crucifiction. Also at the very end of the book, when he gets back home, he ends up carrying the mast of his vessel up to his hut on his shoulder and falling several times to rest. Nothing more than that summerization can give a better paralization of Christ carrying the cross on his horrid journey and falling three times. Even though Hemingway would never admit to any of this as religious symbolism, anybody can easily see the many examples of it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Old Man and the Sea, May 20 2004
By 
Sammy (Pittsburgh, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
I gave this book, The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemmingway, four stars because I thought it was a pretty good book for us to read in school. At first I thought it might have been boring because it is all about one man and 3 days of his life trying to catch a fish, but it was very intense and exciting mostly the whole book. Hemmingway did an excellent job making a fishing trip exciting. His writing was extremely detailed throughout the whole book which made it very easy to read. He shows this when he is describing the old man in the beginning of the book and says "The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea where on his cheeks" (9-10).

Not only was the description very detailed, the characters were developed very well. I really liked how there was only two main characters in this book because that is all he needed to get the message across to his readers. He shows how developed the characters are when the boy, Manolin, say to Santiago "You must get well fast for there is much that I can learn and you can teach me everything" (126). This shows what the boy's relationship with the old man is like; they are close and really respect each other. He also showed the character development of Santiago when he says "I can do it as long as he can...", the he he is talking about is the marlin shark that he is trying to reel in (53). He is showing how devoted he really is to what he does for a living and how he feels about life in general.
Originally I thought that the plot was going to be kind-of boring because it was just about one fishing trip over three days but it ended up being very exciting. I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wanted to read a well written, exciting, short book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Old Man and the Sea, May 20 2004
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
I gave the book The Old Man and the Sea four stars. I gave it four stars because though I enjoyed the book, I found it boring at times and sometimes hard to follow. Although the book was sometimes boring it had great detail that made you feel as though you were right there with the old man trying to pull in the huge marlin fish. In using such vivid description he put you into the story feeling the sorrow the same sorrow for the old man that the boy felt.
I suppose I found the book boring at times because I sometimes felt as though I was reading about things that had no relevance to the story. Which in turn also made it hard to follow and I would get confused. But, I kept reading because the determination of the man to catch a fish kept my interest to see if he really would get that big one he was waiting for. Hemmingway makes you become emotionally invested in the story. "No one should be alone in their old age....But it is unavoidable" (pg. 48) When the old man says this you feel bad for him and you hope never to become that way.
The old man possess much determination he shows this by never giving up. "Fish...I'll stay with you until I am dead." (pg.52) The old man says this during his chase of the big marlin. When he says this you can hear the determination in his voice and you know he will get this fish or die.
I would recommend this book for others because although there were some parts that were boring are hard to follow it was a good book and I thought it had a great lesson behind it. Never give up. I think this lesson is proved when Hemmingway writes " But man is not made for defeat... a man can be destroyed but not defeated" (pg. 103).
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4.0 out of 5 stars grant yansura's review, May 12 2004
By 
Grant Yansura (bak middle school of the arts, west palm beach florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
The Old Man And The Sea was a great book that took me on a long journey through out the struggles of Santiago a Cuban fisherman that has naught had a catch in 84 days. The old man seemed to be very wise and would not give up. The old man had a friend named Manolin. Their friendship stays strong throughout the story.
Santiago is a good man and Manolin is forbidden by his parents to work further with Santiago because he is bad luck. Their friendship goes on though and Manolin helps providing Santiago with food clothes and bait. The old man seems to have had a successful past with fishing this is told with his badly scarred hands and many wrinkles. Santiago is optimistic and does not give up on fishing and instead decides to go deeper into the ocean to catch fish.
Santiago sets out early in the morning and sets out towards the deep sea to catch tuna. Hemingway describes the ocean with sensory details, telling how the ocean smells as Santiago leaves the land, how the ocean looked filled with see weed and how the fish sounded as they flew out of the water. I had a very good picture in my head of the ocean that Santiago was sailing into. Santiago seems very peaceful and respectful as he waits for the fish to bite, referring to the ocean as a female unlike most fisherman that would think of the ocean as masculine and capable of destruction.
The old mans wait is over as he feels a fish nibble on his line. Santiago waits awhile as the fish keeps nibbling. This part of the book was boring because Santiago was just thinking about his friendship with Manolin and Joe Dimaggio. The struggle of catching this Marlin goes on through the night and into the next day. Santiago starts experiencing more problems that made me think he was going to give up. Hunger, sleep deprivation and pain in his hand had all made me think his struggle would soon be over and he would give up on this large fish. Santiago had finally won the battle and had caught the marlin. This made me feel like the struggle was all over but he still had not won.
Santiago had started his journey back to land. Many sharks had attempted to eat the fish and the first one was successful in taking much of Santiago's catch. I showed he really wanted this catch because he had tried everything to catch this fish and to defend it against sharks. Santiago was a good man and felt sorry for the fish and was regretting that he had ventured out so far into the ocean. I felt frustrated for Santiago in the end because he was such a hard working old man and had some bad luck.
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2.0 out of 5 stars the old man and the sea is a shipwreck, May 12 2004
This review is from: Old Man And The Sea (Hardcover)
After reading the old man and the sea, I found myself wondering what exactly Hemingway was trying to do. At first I found it extremely hard to actually get into the book. I mean how much can you say about a fishing trip the last 84 days with no luck. I did find that i sympothized with Santiago, especially when Manolin's parents force him to leave Santiago's boat. I feel that there wasnt enough action in this book to keep my interest going. Hemingway goes into such great detail in all that he says, that i find that it gets boring. Once I had finally gotten to the 85th day of Santiago's unlucky streak, I found that I was rooting so much for him the whole time. I was much more intrigued once he caught hold of that big marlin. I continued to read because I was afraid that he would give up after all that he went through. I fell that the most exciting part is when the sharks lured by the blood of the marlin. I felt bad that Santiago didnt get to enjoy his fish, although by this point Santiago has grown so much I dont think he minds. I enjoyed how he finally did something for himself instead of trying to impress others. I enjoyed the end of the book when Manolin and Santiago see eachother once again. The end of this book gets much better, but i found it didnt compensate for the rest of the book. I would not recomend this book to anyone who seeks action thrillers.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Better than I remember from high school, May 4 2004
By 
Luis M. Luque "luquel" (Crofton, Maryland, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
There's just too much minute fishing detail going on in this story, and not enough of it is interesting. Hemingway writes well here, even though I've never cared for his style, the almost staccato short, declarative sentences. It's certainly more elegant here than in "The Sun Also Rises," (I've never cared for his dialogue), but we're talking about more than 100 pages about a fishing trip and all the interior monologue that goes with it. There are only two characters in this story, the rest are window dressing, and barely that. The old man (Santiago is his name, it took me a minute to remember it -- that should tell you something) is the central character, the boy (can't even remember his name, Manolo or Manolin, something like that) is the other. But, actually, the fish, a huge 1,800-pound marlin probably has a bigger role than the boy. There's almost no dialogue, it's all the man speaking aloud while he's alone in the boat. Just not that interesting, mainly because it takes so long for the man to really have to fight with the marlin and with his fate. I actually expected to be less interested, having read this in high school a million years ago, but once the old man starts bringing the fish up it gets more interesting.
A good place to start if you've never read Hemingway. Quick, easy read. But maybe I need to be an old man to really appreciate the messages here. To me it seemed obvious. I'll have to pick up the Cliff's Notes to see about underlying symbolism, I'm sure there's a lot more to it than just a fish story. Man fights off loneliness and death, becomes a hero despite failure; fish represents death, old age, etc., whatever. But as an entertainment, it's just average. I'm sure "Jaws" is probably a lot more entertaining, and I know "Moby Dick" has far more layers of meaning and symbolism. You might consider one of those two instead.
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Old Man and the Sea
Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Paperback - May 5 1995)
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