The old man and the sea is considered a timeless classic and the most significant work of Ernest Hemingway. It is the last major work of fiction by the author. The old man and the sea, a novella that fetched him the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953 and cited when he got Nobel Prize in literature in 1954.
If you are one of those readers who seek solitude and a “get away” from your daily routine in a book then The old man and sea is your safest bet.
The old man and the sea is a short account of an old, experienced fisherman named Santiago. The story opens with Santiago being seen as salao, being cursed with unluckiness for not being able to catch a fish in 84 days. His apprentice, who is also his sole companion, is forbidden by his parents to go fishing with the old man because of his curse. The boy being bound by the social protocols is left with no choice but to obey his parents, however at the end of each day he helps the old man in collecting his fishing gear and accompanies him back to his shack. They talk about the baseball game, he helps him with his fishing gear and brings him food.
After having been unlucky for 84 days, Santiago, the old Cuban fisherman gets lucky on the 85th day in the sea when he catches a big marlin.
The fish caught by the old man is so big and powerful that he cannot put it in the skiff. Instead, the fish begins to pull the skiff.
The old man struggles and bears the strain of the line through hands, shoulders, and back. The fish pulls the skiff all through the day, night, another day, and through another night. Entire time, the old man endures the pain from the fishing line that has cut him badly. Though Santiago is weary and wounded, he feels admiration for the marlin. He admires the fish for it’s patience and determination. Santiago reveres the marlin as strange and wonderful because Santiago has never encountered a fish that seemed so wise and determined. The fish possessed a determination equal in magnitude to Santiago.
On the third day, he is able to pull the fish close enough to kill it with a harpoon thrust
After killing the Marlin Santiago ties the fish to the side of his boat because it is too big to be carried on it and sets sails for home. However, on his way back he encounters sharks which are drawn to the skiff by the Marlin’s blood. The old man fights them gracefully. He kills five sharks which leaves him wounded and by nightfall, the sharks have almost devoured the marlin, leaving only the skeleton.
He arrives home before daybreak, and falls in deep sleep.
The next morning, fishermen crowd around the skeletal carcass. The boy, Manolin has tears in his eyes finding the old man alive. Santiago falls in sleep again
Famous quotes from the book:
“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
“But man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
“Let him think that I am more man than I am and I will be so.”
“If the others heard me talking out loud they would think that I am crazy. But since I am not, I do not care.”
“Luck is a thing that comes in many forms and who can recognize her?”
“Now he was proving it again. Each time was a new time and he never thought about the past when he was doing it.”
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”