Monday, September 16, 2013

“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway – Depth in Simplicity

Ernest Hemingway was always known for the simplicity of his language and the meaning he was capable of putting into it. Though many people thought badly of him for it, it is novels like The Old Man and the Sea which make even his most tenacious detractors stand back in awe. 

For those who haven’t heard of the novel yet, it tells the story of an old Cuban fisherman as he spends the day chasing a magnificent giant merlin down the Gulf Stream in hopes of bringing it back to his family. The whole story pretty much takes place throughout that day, and this means that if you are the type of person who cannot stand to read slow stories, then I recommend you skip on this.

On the other hand, if you don’t mind having a plot that unravels very slowly and holds more meaning on a philosophical level, then this is definitely the kind of book you ought to be reading. On the surface, the fisherman’s story is far from being an extraordinary one… as a matter of fact, it’s a bit too ordinary for a work of literature.

However, as the story goes on and Hemingway gives us insights into the man’s mind and how he perceives whatever he sees around him, we begin to relate to him, to understand his silent plight, his wants, wishes and desires. At the end of it, the old man felt all too real, as if Hemingway actually knew him.

The Old Man and the Sea  by Ernest Hemingway (Book cover))
The enjoyment of reading this book mainly comes from spotting the metaphors and drawing the connection between what the old man is experiencing and life itself. In the end, this is one of those works of writing which transcends the trend of only having one meaning towards which to work; with every different reader the book gains a new interpretation. In other words, regardless of your identity, the book ends up being about you, the reader.

All in all, despite Hemingway’s simple language and overuse of certain words, The Old Man the Sea is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect and brilliantly simple novels out there, a read I can certainly recommend to anyone not afraid of moving their grey cells around a bit.


Ernest Hemingway 
<br />(July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961)

Ernest Hemingway
(July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961)


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Ernest Hemingway was a famous American author as well as journalist who prided himself in having a simple style of writing, being capable of using the simplest propositions to convey the greatest of ideas. Some of his better-known works include The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls.



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