CLASSICS: The Old Man and the Sea...Review?

Title: The Old Man and the Sea
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Genre: Classics

The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal—a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Me: I don't know how to feel about this book. It is such a classic and such a HUGE part of American literature that I feel somewhat obligated to derive a huge meaning of life from it...but I just don't get it. I understand the overlying concept of the book: how even with failure, there is something to be gained. Maybe I'm too young or too inexperienced or whatever to fully grasp the beauty and timelessness of this novella, but I don't really see the revolutionizing beauty and the wonder that all others seem to see. 

That being said, I think that this book was definitely worth reading. Hemingway is such a huge figure in American literature and his tone and storytelling is extremely extremely simple. I really loved that part about The Old Man and the Sea. The theme of the book was never explicitly stated, and the word choice and emotion conveyed was so incredibly uncomplicated - yet the underlying themes were very strong. 

Self-worth and self-validation. This story is a very lonely one. Santiago hasn't been able to catch a fish for a very long time, and yet he tries and finally finds one. It is massive and powerful and he loves it dearly, as one loves a dream that is a step away from coming true. But he loses the fish to other forces of nature and comes home empty-handed. It is sad, melancholy, but also powerful.

So, here's the deal. This book was easy to read. Easy to comprehend? Not so much. I don't want to call this a review, because I know that personally I didn't get as much out of this book as I should have. Or more like, could have. I will reread this in the future, and hopefully by then I will find the beauty of Hemingway. 

As you may be able to tell, I'm torn with my feelings on this book. Is it my fault because I'm not that developed of a reader yet? Or is Hemingway just another overrated classic author? Probably the first one, don't you think? 

Have you read The Old Man and the Sea or any book that made you feel like you weren't a good enough reader? But then...aren't good authors supposed to appeal to everyone? Still confused...


  1. I had to read this like four times throughout highschool and college. I hated it the first time. But I feel like every time I re-read it, I got more. And I liked it more. You're right: it's confusing. And I never would have re-read it if I didn't have to for classes. But I'm glad I did, because I slowly understood it better. And it is now one of my favorites!

    1. YAY, this gives me hope. I know that I will encounter it again in the future and hopefully I will have the same reaction you did and grow to love it like so many others do :)