Tuesday, July 16, 2013

25: The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

"First you borrow. Then you beg."
"Let him think I am more man than I am and I will be so."
I am not good for many more turns. Yes you are, he told himself. You're good for ever."
"But man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated."
"Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is."

2013 has really been an epic reminder of how much I haven't read and how much I don't know. So, once again, let me display my ignorance for all the internet to see: I HAVE NEVER READ AN ERNEST HEMINGWAY NOVEL. Yes, I know, I know, that's terrible. I own quite a few of them, but they always seem to be shuffled to the bottom of the To Read Pile by basically any other book I pick up. This book is another one of the texts on my curriculum for American Lit, so I decided to chase the marlin and do it. I fell asleep multiple times. I took many Girls With Slingshots breaks (I read all 1659 comic strips in the series). I did laundry.

Reading it as a reader/teacher I kept thinking: how am I going to get my kids into this? We live in Las Vegas - not exactly a fisherman's paradise. I took to the internets and found some really great videos that I will be using for teaching.

Interestingly, in all of these clips the fishermen talk about the fish in the same way that Santiago does. I'm hoping that seeing these videos will help make the fish and the fisherman and the struggle more real and therefore more interesting.

What did I think of the book as a reader? I thought it was boring. A thoughtful aphorism (see above) would appear and I would think, "That's so true. What an important thing to say about life." Then I would think, "What is this? Zen and the Art of Marlin Fishing?" I really feel like my next step is to read another Hemingway novel so I can have a fair opinion because this just didn't do it for me. 


  1. Hemingway might just not be your style, but I recommend The Sun Also Rises. It's a little less... parable-like than The Old Man and the Sea. Also, his short stories.

  2. Brent, I am now carrying around The Sun Also Rises in the hopes that I will some day actually open the cover. Last night I carried it from my car to my nightstand, and then got on my phone. This morning I carried it from my nightstand to my couch, and then got on my phone. Hemingway may be singlehandedly responsible for me going over my data usage.

    I listened to a podcast episode where a sorta delinquent kid read that book (it was the first book he had ever read, and he was a late teenager). This inspired him to get together the money to go to Pamplona and run with the bulls which he continued to do for several years until he was totally jabbed by one. Eventually the kid became a writer, so I feel like I need to give Poppa some love.