Jay's Reviews > The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
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Feb 23, 12

bookshelves: literature-united-states
Read on February 20, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 2

What to say about a Hemingway classic that won a Pulitzer Prize (1953) and contributed to his winning a Nobel Prize (1954)? It is his last great work published during his lifetime and which came after he had sustained disillusioning criticism for To Have and Have Not (published in 1947) and Over the River and Into the Trees (published in 1950).

It is a jewel. On the surface, a simple story of an aged fisherman and his battle with a marlin, it holds for many readers more intricate and deeper meanings. Kenneth Lynn, in his biography of Hemingway, joins several critics who see the novella as “a thinly veiled fictionalization of Hemingway’s struggles with himself as a writer and as a man.” Joseph Waldmeir, in his essay "Confiteor Hominem: Ernest Hemingway's Religion of Man", sees the book’s message in more transcendental terms: “Hemingway has finally taken,” writes Waldmeir, “the decisive step in elevating what might be called his philosophy of Manhood to the level of a religion." Many others focus on what they see as the Christian symbolism of the work, couching some of the discussion as a battle against Evil.

Great literature, of course, often reaches readers in ways that authors never consciously intend. For me, the beauty of the language and the simple story itself are enough.
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