“The old man and the sea”
written by Ernest Hemingway

The book is set in the early twentieth century and most of time the main place is the Caribbean Sea, only the beginning and the end of the story takes place in a small fishing village in Cuba.

The book “The old man and the sea” written by Ernest Hemingway deals with the fight of an old fisherman with a big swordfish.
Since 84 days, the old man Santiago hasn’t caught a fish and that’s the reason why the parents of his only and best friend Manolin forbid him to accompany the old man any more. On the 85th day he is alone on the sea and has a very big swordfish at his fishing line. The fish is too big and strong for the old man and his little boat so the swordfish hauls the fishing-boat and the old man has to spend some more nights on the sea. During this time the old man soliloquizes often and a kind of friendship arises between the fish and the old man. The old man hasn’t got enough to eat and he has aches but he keeps up and after two days he overcomes the fish. He fastens it at his boat and hauls it. But he can’t be happy for a long time, because on his way back sharks attack the boat of the old man and try to eat the swordfish. The old man defends his fish as good as he can but as he reaches the port of his hometown the swordfish is only a skeleton.

The theme of the book is the endless fight between human and nature.

The book is easy to read and you don’t have to be very concentrated because there are not many important actions. The plot is simple and it’s going straight forward.

The focus is during the whole book on the old man, his thoughts and his fight with the swordfish.

The old man
The name of the old man is Santiago. He’s strong for his age and has a lot of scars. His hometown is a little fishing village in Cuba and he lives in poor conditions. His favorite sport is baseball and he’s like a grandfather for the boy Manolin. He thinks that every moment in life is worth to live and that every day gives you new chances. The most important thing for Santiago is to bring home the fish and even when it’s only a skeleton. That shows that he’s a hopeful fighter and that he keeps up.

Manolin is a boy who lives in the same fishing village like the old man. The old man taught him fishing. He is a honest person, helps and takes care for the old man.

It’s not an open end and it leaves no open questions. For the old man the story has no happy end, because he loses the fish before he’s back home and the attempt was very painful and hard for him. But for the reader it’s relieved to know that the old man survived his adventure and that’s like a little happy end.

Author’s intention
I think the author’s intention is what the old man in his book says: “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” That means that you should never give up and always be hopeful.

Language and style
The language is simple and the most sentences are short. Sometimes the old man uses Spanish words and the author uses very often “he said” because the old man soliloquizes. The story is narrated in the selective omniscience third-person.

Conclusion – personal response
I liked the book, because it has a good statement and it was easy to read. Moreover the story is thrilling, informative and interesting.
I didn’t like that some passages are too detailed described. That makes the book a little long-winded.

Quote from the book
“He did not like to look at the fish anymore since he had been mutilated. When the fish had been hit it was as though he himself were hit.
But I killed the shark that hit my fish, he thought. And he was the biggest shark that I have ever seen. And God knows that I have seen big ones.
It was too good to last, he thought. I wish it had been a dream now and that I had never hooked the fish and was alone in bed on the newspapers.
“But man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

von Tore Spitz, 11.01.2004


(to) haulziehen, schleppen
(to) soliloquizeSelbstgespräche führen
(to) ariseentwickeln, entstehen
(to) keep updurchhalten
(to) overcomeüberwältigen
poor conditionsarme Verhältnisse
(to) mutilateverstümmeln
hookedhier: geangelt


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