The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

I think I just fell in love!  One of the authors I chose to read for my Nobel Literature class is Ernest Hemingway.   Father has "Green Hills of Africa" and has been encouraging me to read it, but I wanted to read "The Old Man and the Sea" first since I've never read any of his books.    Last night I sat down to read it and fell into the story hook, line and sinker.   Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.  It's a novella, only 127 pages long so I spent the evening reading it.   Now I want to read his other books.  I loved Hemingway's writing -  very descriptive without wasting any words and just gives you the impression of warmth.  

In a nutshell:  Santiago is an old man, an old Cuban fisherman who has been unlucky.   For 84 days the fisherman has been unsuccessful in catching anything and is bound and determined to go out and catch the biggest fish there is. Santiago is old and poor and makes his living fishing. His apprentice Manolin helps take care of him without making it obvious or making it seem like it’s charity. He loves Santiago and is devoted to him. Manolin usually goes out fishing with him, but because the old man has been so unlucky, his father has forbidden it.

On the 85th day Santiago goes out alone beyond the other boats in the early, early morning. He hooks a marlin but it is so big he is unable to reel it in. The fish starts to swim out to sea dragging the skiff behind. The old man holds the line, bearing the weight of it on his hands, back and shoulders, unable to tie it off. He struggles to keep the line from breaking and for two days and nights, the fish drags the boat. When the fish finally tires on the third day and starts to circle the boat, the old man is able to pull in the line and harpoon the fish. He ties the fish to the side of the boat and starts to sail back to the shore. However, sharks attack and though he manages to kill a few, by the time he reaches shore, all that is left of the fish is the skeleton, head and tail. 

After reading the story, it makes me want to read more of Ernest Hemingway’s books and I plan to do so.  I can see why he was awarded a Nobel prize in Literature.  Not only for what he managed to accomplish in his life, but his writings.   According to the committee   

“Within the frame of a sporting tale, a moving perspective of man's destiny is opened up; the story is a tribute to the fighting spirit, which does not give in even if the material gain is nil, a tribute to the moral victory in the midst of defeat. The drama is enacted before our eyes, hour by hour, allowing the robust details to accumulate and take on momentous significance. ‘But man is not made for defeat’ , the book says. ‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated.’”   

Hemingway was born July 21st 1899 and died July 2, 1961 at the age of 62.   I'm  going to dedicate July as Hemingway month here on the blog and reading another one of his fiction stories plus his nonfiction story "Green Hills of Africa," (since we have it) and also  his book on writing "Ernest Hemingway on Writing."  

Help me to choose which book to read:

I'm thinking of having a readalong. Who would like to join me? 


  1. Oh, I wish I could read A Farewell to Arms again..for the FIRST time. So that's my vote. So glad you liked OLD MAN. That's one of my favorites. :)

  2. A Farewell to Arms all the way!!!

    I just got a copy of all of Hemingway's short stories. It's huge and thick and wonderfully exciting. I can't wait to dive into it!

  3. Robin, Old Man and the Sea was my favorite Hemingway novel. Your review has me thinking about a re-read. My second favorite is A Farewell to Arms.

  4. Please pick up your Easter Basket here:

  5. Just discovered your blog and love it! And you inspired me to try the 50,000 words in 50 days!

    The Old Man and the Sea is a masterpiece, that I am now going to re-read. I would love to do a read-along with you. My vote is for For Whom the Bell Tolls or Farewell to Arms.


  6. I was completely surprised by this book and how much I loved it - it really was a gorgeous piece of writing. You should check out this post as well - I thought Erika really captured one of the best parts of the book:

  7. How wonderful to read of your discovery.... there is a Hemmingway coming up on my book club's list and I am hugely looking forward to it. i would recommend that you read "for whom the bell tolls" next. happy reading and thank you for sharing an excellent post


  8. I would definitely say "A Farewell to Arms!" I read it when I was a sophomore in high school and loved it!! Speaking of that, I think I may go dig it out and reread it! I would love to join on a readalong! How does that work?

  9. From Whom the Bell Tolls is TERRIBLE. So I would definitely not recommend that one. :P

  10. The Sun Also Rises, To Have and Have No. I didn't hate For Whom the Bell Tolls. The only one I haven't read is Islands in the Stream. Looking forward to what you pick.

  11. Hemingway is one of my very favorites! I think his writing is the epitome of the Doctorow quote you have here.

    Cast my vote for The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast (not a novel but wonderful sketches).


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