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Monday, August 30, 2010

Journal #2

Miguel, a kind and generous muskrat, was walking home from a long day of being a muskrat, when he stumbled over a rock in the middle of the road. As turning back, a small voice chirped from somewhere behind him. Miguel heard the voice again and looked down to see the rock slowly moving across the street. Being the nice muskrat he is, Miguel picked up the rock and moved it to the other side of the road. Miguel looked at the rock a little closer and noticed that it was not a rock at all; instead, he saw the small head of a turtle popping out of the rock. Miguel introduced himself to his new friend. The turtle looked up at his captor and yelled at the muskrat to put him down. Miguel, having his feelings hurt by such a cruel little turtle, dropped him to the ground on the other side of the road and ran home crying. After a few more hours of slow, laborious walking by the turtle, he got to thinking about his interaction with Miguel, the muskrat. He decided that the next day, he would give a conversation to the passing muskrat. So, the next day, Miguel came down the same road as the turtle waited for him in the middle. As the muskrat was passing by, the turtle piped up again, and, being the nice muskrat he is, Miguel stopped to give the turtle another chance. Trevor the turtle introduced himself first, and they instantly picked up a conversation. Miguel skooped up the tiny turtle and took him down the road a little way to his house. He set him down on the couch and got him a drink. Trevor looked at his kind host and asked, "Miguel, why do you still like me? We got off to a horrible start, but you pressed on. Why?" The muskrat looked down at the turtle with a slight grin on his face, laughed, and looked into the fireplace.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Journal #1

Native American history is not the largest topic in the back of my head. Actually, it is quite small, very small, extremely small. There are some things I know like that the Native people were run out of town by new settlers. Apparently, their land was overrun by newcomers, and it forced the natives to move to some new locations. I, however, believe that the people were sort of asking for it. I mean, they hoarded the land for so long, and they should have expected someone to come take over their land because it is, after all, so luscious and fertile and willing to grow sustainable crops such as maize. Maize, by the way, is basically corn. Native Americans grew maize to harvest and feed the family or the village if necessary. Also, it is commonly known that Native Americans lived in teepees, but this is not exactly true. Many people did certainly live in teepees, but most of that living was done during travel since it is such a convenient and easy way of setting up a good shelter. A lot of Native Americans had permanent housing on a "lot," commonly shared with other family members, but there were also some who used teepees as permanent housing. Native Americans from northernmost locations most likely did not use teepees as they would become extremely cold. Instead, the Inuits, for example, came up with a form of shelter involing the surroundings. They cut large blocks of ice and stacked them to create a small dome, then packed the cracks with snow. This system, although sounding totally insane, was actually extremely useful. It provided shelter from the winds of the north, and made a cozy feeling within the people. There was also a ton of hunting back down in the plains. Bear, buffalo, and small game like raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, and birds were hunted for meat, hides, and even bones. They skinned the animal, cleaned it, ate it, then used the remains to form weapons from the bones, like arrow heads, and used the pelts of the animals to make blankets and flooring for their homes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Symbolism

Symbolism is an immense part of Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury, for example, wrote the entire book as a symbol of the phoenix, in which life must rise from the ashes of its death. The symbols make connections to other places in the book as well. The first two sections of the novel, "the Hearth and the Salamander" and "the Sieve and the Sand," are symbolic of the firemen and the impossibility in what they are attempting by trying to rid the world of books. Some of the other symbols were not as blunt and forward as those. For instance, mirrors, at the end of the book, are symbolic of how humanity should be acting. Granger tells the group that they should build a mirror factory to take a long, hard look at themselves.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

And After...

Now that this whole ordeal about these blogs is over, I feel it necessary to make a post that is not at least 325 words long. Instead, it will be short, sweet, and to the point. The Old Man and the Sea honestly was short but pretty boring. Basically, this guy went out to sea to catch a fish, found one, struggled with it for, like, three days, reeled it in, then lost all the meat on it to sharks on the way back to shore. :( A pretty simple plot turns into a hundred-page novel. The Grapes of Wrath was way too long for me, and not enough happened. I'll just leave it at that. Fahrenheit 451 was probably my favorite of the three, well really only two were options, books that I read this summer. It was about this Guy who searched the city for himself, only to self-destruct in the end and be forced to rebuild. This is a different kind of story, one that I do not ever remember seeing in any other book. Thank you, someone, that these blogs are over. This was probably the longest project I have ever completed. Someone told me this would be about the same length as something like a 30-page normal paper. That is so much writing, it isn't even funny. But, I'm glad I finished, and I'm glad I don't have to think about it anymore. I wish you farewell. :D

Fahrenheit 451: Final Thoughts

Overall, Fahrenheit 451 was an easy read. It moved along nicely and did not spend too much time on one subject like The Grapes of Wrath. It had an interesting plot and a great cast as my last blog entry explained. I liked the story about how, in the end, Montag was able to rebirth the world, it seemed. I like Ray Bradbury. He did a good job with this novel. It was interesting that he killed off Clarisse because that really messed with my mind. I did not see that coming at all, but it made me get more into the book. The enthusiasm necessary to read The Grapes of Wrath just plain was not there for me. That was the most difficult book ever to get through. This one, however, had good plot turns and suspense which helped me get through it much more easily. Word choice in this book also played a huge role. I do not remember too many big words or phrases that tripped me up. Everything basically flowed from the opening line to the final word. Montag was a real, not down to Earth kind of guy (haha, no pun intended) and a serious headcase. He was not mischievous, but rather wide open with what he intended on doing. He would go out and pretty much announce his plans to the world, and then he was surprised when everything bad started happening. He was also kind of stupid, in general. He was lackadaisical in motion and redundant in thought, considering that he rarely thought things through. Instead, he was a go-to kind of guy, and by that, I mean he was a go-to-somewhere-and-do-whatever-I-want kind of guy (again, no pun intended). I kind of liked that in him, despite it almost leading to his ultimate downfall. It was amazing that he was able to get away, but I suppose there would have to be sort of suitable end to his long journey. It was just too bad it was not death.

Farhrenheit 451: Thoughts - Part II

I really liked the reality of the characters in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. They were symbolic in nature and represented different sides of real life. Guy Montag is a normal man, until he meets this girl who totally changes his outlook on everything, even himself. He is full of confusion and leads himself into situations that require quick thinking; not everything he does is well thought out like in some other books. He acts mostly on impulse, like the nature of most human beings in real life. Then, there is Mildred, the caring, devoted, and loving wife of Guy Montag. She is a sweet woman who is always dedicated to her life partner. Ha. Not. Mildred has one of the most turn-around kinds of personalities imaginable. She loves the soap opera, seems fascinated by books, which are illegal, yells at Montag for not doing what she says, and finally turns him in to the firemen for having the illegal books. She is probably the closest thing to an antagonist in this novel as anyone. That would be true if there was not Captain Beatty. Beatty is what I think of as a complete fool. He seems to care about Montag as more than just a co-worker judging by the speech he gives Montag. But he is also the sort of person who is hard to read. He also seems sort of insane. He has been working as a fireman for quite some time if he is the captain, but he also apparently had a strong relationship with books at one point. He knows an awful lot about the big no-no, but he is nearly afraid to show his love for books, and I am not really sure why. I guess it would revoke his job title if someone found out. Then, finally, there is Clarisse McClellan. Clarisse is quite the oddball. She is so much different than society allows, but she likes the way she is. She feels happy with her life and asks the most difficult questions at times. I think Clarisse was my favorite character partly because she was so mysterious, like her disappearance. Her presence in Montag's life sparked a change in thought for him, and it really started opening doors for him to climb through.

Fahrenheit 451: Thoughts - Part I

What happened to Clarisse? Where did she go? I really liked her. She was different than everyone else, and that made her stick out as in important character. Why did she have to get killed off? All she wanted was to know more about the world? Is that such a crime? Oh, yeah, I forgot, it is. This entire society without books is messed up. Homes are fireproof but can still burn down; firemen start fires; books are illegal; people's jobs make them go insane; no one is allowed to ask questions; people are silenced for moving against the current. The fireproof homes sound beneficial, but nothing else in that list seems right. Also, I do not think, just because books are banned, any of this will ever happen in the real world. Even if it were to happen, I also do not think the government would start raining nuclear warheads on the civilians. The city as a whole was not doing any wrong; it was mainly Montag. What kind of idiots are unable to catch a criminal who is on foot and alone in a futuristic society where televisions are enormous and cars are allowed to go super fast. It seems like someone would be able to find him fairly easily and, so long as the police force is not as stupid as Captain Beatty who handed his own death to Montag, alert the police to his whereabouts. Everything about this book is wrong. However, I really enjoyed reading it. It was pretty suspenseful throught to the very end, and it had an enticing set of characters who seemed very realistic and lifelike. Montag had a real human side because of all the misunderstanding in his life and misguidance he gives himself. He is so confused by what is happening all around him that it seems he will not climb out of the hole. But, like every good protagonist, he is somehow able to make one final run for the exit, just in time, to save his life and restart everything.

Fahrenheit 451: Mildred Montag - Part II

Really, Mildred? Did you really turn in your husband? Did you actually just do that to him? I thought you were enjoying reading those books and learning new things; were you not? How could you do that to such a feeble man? How could you betray the trust of the man whom you pledged yourself to for better or worse? You should have been able to see him deteriorating in front of your eyes. I thought I knew you better than that, Mildred. What did you accomplish by doing that to your one, true companion? He saved your life, you know! You were just about to leave the world forever, and this nice man came to your rescue and saved your life. You disgust me, Mildred. But, enough of me complaining about the awful character that is Mildred Montag and how I do not like her after that horrible act she did unto her husband, such a good man put into unfortunate circumstances causing him to crack under the pressure of living. Honestly, he should have been the one to attempt suicide. Okay, now I am actually done. Mildred is quite the character. She hates her real life and tries to escape it by hiding herself in the parlor and drowning her own sorrows with the sorrows of her favorite soap opera. She is surprised when Guy reveals his stash of books he has kept hidden from her, but come on, anyone could have seen that coming from eleven miles away. She really cannot be that stupid. She is also a character of mistrust and illusion when she proves that she is not a true friend and rats out Guy for having the books. She does not let Guy live his own way; instead, she expects him to live her way. I am seriously doubting if there is a heart under that chest of hers. I really just do not like her. She is not a nice lady.

Fahrenheit 451: End of a World

According to some sort of mythology, the noble phoenix is a bird of legend. A phoenix is said to die in one life in a massive ball of fire, only to be reborn from the ashes of its former body. Illustrating this idea perfectly is Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 in which the world ends under the power of nuclear proportions and is forced to be reborn. At the end of Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag happens across a group of wanderers who have been memorizing books in preperation for the apocalyptic end of mankind. They know it will be coming, but the question remains in when. Their answer is given with the arrival of this newcomer, Guy Montag, who brings with him destruction in the form of bombs on the city. These bombs are a last ditch effort to rid the world of the illegal books by the government and the firemen. These bombs not only accomplish the goal of completely annihilating the books, but they also wipe out most of the population of the city. Luckily, there is a small and brave group of poeple, the homeless men and now their new compadre, Montag, who are getting ready to rebuild society in the shape they want. This shape, left for the reader to assume, is most likely one including books as a source of knowledge and joy, since there is some fun left in reading and there are some people who still possess the knowledge of the once written words. This rebirth, of sorts, can easily be compared to the rebirth of the phoenix. From within the deepest, darkest depths of the begotten, there will rise a new form, a form of grace and subtlety to continue the journey of its last counterpart in hopes of better life. The phoenix is supposed to rebirth from its ashes in a new and improved fashion, one that could be in beauty or strength. Just like the bird, the men of the story are to remake everything from the ground up and refurbish something to make it better, possibly, in my opinion, to include books in every home again.

Fahrenheit 451: Summary - Burning Bright

Okay, first of all. I know I ended the last entry with Montag's house burning down. This is so not true, but it would have been so much more epic if it had been true. That would be a suiting end to the book; just kind of and "in your face!" to Montag. "Burning Bright" is the title given to the third and final section of Fahrenheit 451. It is so called because of the numerous instances of fire in the section. It starts with Guy Montag on the way to his home on an alarm call. When he arrives at home, he sees Mildred heading out of the house with all her things packed up in suticases, and Guy is led to assume that she was the one who alerted the firemen about the books. Beatty leads Montag into the house and gives him a flamethrower, which he uses, not for the intended purpose, but to scorch his long time friend and mentor, Captain Beatty. Montag had two options: option one was to destroy everything he had worked for in his home; option two was to destroy everything he had worked for from inside him. He chose to destroy everything inside himself by killing Beatty. After murdering his boss, Guy runs out into his backyard and digs up the four books he had also been hiding in the ground. The firehound races up onto Montag and injects his leg with something to make it go completely numb. But, just like he did with his last problem, Montag turns the flamethrower on it and gets it off his leg. He runs from his house as news helicopters and another mechanical dog track him. he ends up going to a co-worker's home to hide the books in his house and calls an alert to the house to draw some attention away from himself and onto this poor, unknowing, innocent man. Then, he runs to Faber's house, where Faber tells him to follow the railroad tracks, and he should meet a group of people. Guy runs down to a river and jumps in, hoping it will mask his scent trail from the dogs that could still be chasing him. Montag floats downstream for a while until he floats ashore. He meets the group of homeless men, and their leader introduces himself to Montag as Granger. he tells Montag that the group is memorizing books so they will be able to rebuild society when the world ends. Shortly thereafter, bombs are dropped all over the city, and the city is no more. The group then walks up the river to renew life and hopefully be reborn like the phoenix is said to do.

Fahrenheit 451: Summary - The Sieve and the Sand

The second section of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, "the Sieve and the Sand," receives its name from a childhood memory of Montag's. He remembers himself at the beach, trying with no prevail to fill a sieve with sand and crying because the job is not possible. It begins with the Montags continuing their desperate reading in the hall of their home. Guy is thinkin gabout Clarisse and why she was the way she was. He keeps on thinking and remembers and old English professor he once met in the park who had given Montag his telephone number, and he tries to give the man a call in search of some information on the Bible he found in the woman's house. But, the feisty old man does thinks this question is too upfront and thinks he is being tricked into confessing a possession of books, and he quickly and abruptly hangs up the phone. Mildred goes back to the parlor to wtch some more television, and Guy catches a subway to head over to professor Faber's house with the Bible. While on the train, Montag is distracted by an advertisement and waves around the Bible for all the passengers to see and yells at them for looking. Frightened, Montag hurredly steps off the train at the next stop and walks the rest of the way to Faber's house. Inside the house, Montag tries convincing Faber to make a copy of the Bible for him. Faber joins Montag's plan and gives Montag a two-way radio ear piece. montag returns to his home and has a small conversation with Mildred and her friends. During the conversation, like an idiot, Montag becomes angered at the people for their shallow behavior and ridiculous viewpoints and takes out a book of poetry to read to them all. The group has mixed reactions as one woman breaks down and cries from the beauty of the poem, while another yells at Montag about the poem's evil. The following day, Montag returns to work and hands Captain Beatty a copy of the Bible, which he casually tosses into the street. Suddenly, the fire alarm rings, and the two men jump into action. To his horror, Montag finds out that the call is to his own house because someone, most likely his wife, Mildred, let slip the whereabouts of his hidden books. As the second section ends and the third begins, Montag is standing at his house, watching it burn to the ground.

Fahrenheit 451: Summary - The Hearth and the Salamander

In Ray Bradbury's Fahrneheit 451, there are three sections, "the Hearth and the Salamander," "the Sieve and the Sand," and "Burning Bright," respectively in order. In the first part, "the Hearth and the Salamander," we meet this guy named Guy Montag. He is a firemanwith the number 451. In the first section, Guy really starts to question himself. He is not sure whether he likes the way he is living or not. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Guy's job is to track down illegal substances, in this case, books. He is to finds all the books and burn them. Very early in the story, Guy is walking home one day after a hard day at work when he comes around a corner to meet Clarisse. They talk for a little while, and she asks Guy, just as they are about to part for the night, if he is truly happy. This question startles Montag, as he is unsure of the answer and how he could answer it. Over the course of the next few days, they walk home together and chat, and Montag is still trying to find the answer to her question. Then, suddenly and mysteriously, Clarisse is not there on his way home from work. Later, he comes to find that she has been arrested, or possibly killed with her family for heresy and disrupting the flow of day to day life. A few more days go by, then Montag gets the call that will change his life irreversably. The firemen are told to go to a residence of an old woman who has been hiding books for some time, apparently. Just after the men soak her house in kerosene, the old woman takes out her own match and burns down her own house with her still inside. Shocked from the events of the last day, Montag does not go to work and is going to call in sick when Captain Beatty comes to his house. Beatty's pep talk he gives Montag (more of a pep speech) reveals the questionable side of Beatty that has always wanted to appear, and once he leaves, Montag shows his wife, Mildred, his secret stash of books he has collected over the past couple months, including his newest addition, the Bible, which he lifted from the old woman's house the last night. Mildred is taken aback by these extremely illegal hides, and she firmly tells Guy that she does not want them in her house. As this section of the book draws to a close, there is a strange character outside the door of the Montags' home, later revealed to be the firehouse "dog." The dog is actually a robot used to sniff out people who have been breaking the rules and kill them. Montag was clerly on the list because of his secret hiding spot of books. Together, the two frantically read as many pages of the books as they can, learning new things about everything, and taking in all sorts of knowledge.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fahrenheit 451: Books

It is extremely mysterious why all books are illegal. The book gives a couple possibilities as to why the books have been banned. These possibilities are basically broken down into two groups. The first group includes a general lack of interest in reading the books. Apparently, there are these other things that are like condensed versions of actual books. They take most of the hassle out of reading because they are so short, but they still give all the main plot lines. They would probably make it easier to "read" a book because it is a short, quick overview of the same thing but without the general boring parts of books. I think I would like that, actually. Also, in a world of so many distractions, there is hardly any time to sit down and read a full book. The parlor, for example, in the Montags' home represents one of those distractions in Mildred's case. She spends as much time in that room as humanly possible, and she is always wanting to put in more, better stuff. Also, there are things like the radio, large, colorful advertisements, and bullet cars that speed everywhere and provide a fun time for the driver and passengers. However, all of the distractions are potentially dangerous. The cars could crash; the radio could polute the minds of the listeners; and the signs on the highway could draw the drivers' attention away from driving or make the driver think about it too much. Second, the books cause open hostility among the people and toward the higher control. The government is afraid that the people will read the books and start thinking in the ways of the books. These books could be slandering the government or the police or promoting the same factors, but they just do not want to take that risk of allowing the people to voice themselves through books. Who knows? Maybe someone will think too much about the books and go out into the world to find himself. Oh, wait, did that happen anyway?

Fahrenheit 451: Society's Effects on Montag

There are a couple of reasons why Guy is losing his mind. The first reason is because of Clarisse. She sees the world from a totally radical viewpoint. She sees the hidden beauties in everything like the clouds and the fresh air and even the actions of her fellow human beings, being good actions or actions that are potentially harmful, or even fatal, like what inevitably happens to her because of her love. Her world is full of love for everything, especially her family and the way she holds herself. She is excited to ask questions and expects to receive answers. These odd ways of life inspire Montag to think about what he is doing with his life. He realizes that there is really no meaning to why he is even a member of society. Montag is also confused by why the books are illegal. He is not entirely sure why his job is necessary, and since Clarisse inspired him to think about what he is doing, he is also inspired to think about what the firemen in general are doing. He wonders why the books are so "bad," and he even creates a stash of them for his own enjowment. Unfortunately, this interest in the books becomes too great to keep hidden, and he shows the stash to his wife, Mildred. Together, the blunder through the twenty or so books he has hidden as fast as possible because Beatty is right outside, and he will burn the books and their house if he finds them. Honestly, society puts all this pressure on Montag to find out what is inside the books because they are against the law. The human mind is amazing: as soon as something becomes different, it asks why it is now different. As soon as Montag finds out books had not always been illegal, he instantly wants to find out why they are now illegal. And what is the better place to start his search than at the source of the hostility? So, like a true idiot, Montag steals his first book and is sucked into the story of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 to await inevitable doom in the sands of time.

Fahrenheit 451: Guy Montag - Part II

Guy Montag has the normal life. He works regular hours at a regular job, and he provides money for his wife at home, Mildred. He does not question things and goes about his job as a good worker. All of this is true until the story begins. He meets this girl named Clarisse, and she changes his life so drastically. She does not just accept everything like the world has taught him his entire life, but she wants to know more about everything the world is teaching. She asks why things happen, and this confuses Montag. Montag starts to retract this "disease" that Clarisse has, and it turns his whole life upside down. It turns over everything he once thought to be true and definitive. And, it does a little more inside him than just mental confusion. It starts a chian reaction of physical confusion. He no longer knows if he fits in society. He thought he used to have a good life, but now he does not understand what he should be doing with his life. When Clarisse magically disappears, the chain reactions pick up at a rapid pace. He starts reading the books he is supposed to be burning. He is so lost in this world that he goes out into it to try to find himself in the sea of loss. Montag is a fireman, but he is not a fire puter-outer. Actually, he is a fire starter! His fireman's number is 451. That is why the book is called Fahrenheit 451. The fire is hot, thus the name "Fahrenheit." Montag realizes the trouble his life is full of, and his goal in the long-run is to fulfill some sort of goal. He is really unsure of what that goal could be, but he knows there has to be a goal somewhere out there for him to reach. He is excited to find it, bt along the way, there is much more confusion in his path that he must first overcome.

Fahrenheit 451: More Religion

The whole thing about fire can also be related to the Bible in very many ways. Fire has many meanings in Christianity, and it comes up in the stories of the Bible many times. There is the pagan burn in which the golden calf was made, and then there is also Moses' burning bush. Fire represents both heresy and the presence of a divine presence. This divine character should be strong and all-encompassing. Fire in Fahrneheit 451 also has multiple meanings that potentially turn over themselves. In the beginning, fire is the symbol of a smothered society, in which the public is blocked from the truth and many distractions clog the brains of the masses from seeing and thinking clearly and sanely. As it is, the people do not even know why they are not allowed to read books, or possess books, or even see books. However, as the novel progresses, Montag is able to turn the fire around on his oppressors, like Captain Beatty, and use it against them, unfortunately in ways to harm them. By ridding himself of the pressure society puts on him, he is able to win his freedom from the stranglehold of the police and his job. Finally, Bradbury uses language and imagery directly from the Bible to end the novel. In the last pages, as Montag and Granger's group walk up the river to find survivors after the bombing of the city, Montag desperately tries to remember passages from the Bible that would be appropriate for the situation they are in. He thinks of Ecclesiastes 3:1 that reads, "To everything there is a season," and he also thinks of Revelations 22:2, "And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nation." This second verse also suggests of the holy city of Heaven. Finally, the last line of the novel suggests a strong symbolic connection between the atomic killings in Montag's world the Apocalypse in the Bible.

Fahrenheit 451: Religion

So, first of all, I am really hating these blogs more and more with every one I do. It sucks because they are so long, and there are so many of them. I am almost to the breaking point, but, luckily, I am also almost done, sort of. Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 contains numerous religious references. Professor Faber promotes a Christian sense of forgiveness for Montag. After Montag's turn against society, Faber reminds Montag that, since he was once a member of the following faithful, he should have a feeling of pity toward the people instead of being so angry at them. Faber believes this because the people really do not know as much as he or Montag know, and that should eventually lead to their downfall. They are going to be ignorant and left in the dark about what is actually going on around them, and Montag should feel sorry for them instead of being angry at them. The novel also references Jesus Christ's miracle at Canaa where he transformed regular water into fabulous wine. Faber makes two correlations: one is comparing himself to water, and the other is comparing Montag to fire. Montag is fire because of his job and the anger within him, and Faber is water because of his more mellow tendencies. Faber also tells that if the two were to merge into one, the fire and water would combine to make wine, sort of like in the biblical story. Jesus Christ's transformation of water into wine was one of the miracles he allegedly produced to instill his powers and prove his identity as the son of the Christian god. This miracle also proved his role as savior as a gift from the Christian god. Montag wishes to confirm his own self through such a process, but he is clearly unable to because of his lack of "god powers." Montag wishes to have a meaning to his life, but he is unsure of where he needs to start his search. He longs for a way out of the real life, so he starts in on books and a hopeful identity.

Fahrenheit 451: Clarisse McClellan

Only for the first few pages, there is this girl, Clarisse McClellan. She is very different than the other girls, or boys, or even people in general, that Montag has met. She is very, well, intriguing. In the first few pages, Montag is walking home after a day of work, and just as he is about to walk around a corner, he feels someone standing right there on the other side of the wall. As he goes around the corner, he feels a strange lack of presence, as if something was just waiting there a second ago. He looks around to find nothing there and continues on his way home. A day later, he comes to the same corner to have the same feeling, but this time when he rounds the corner, he meets a young girl, Clarisse. She is seventeen years old, and her family is much more open to differences than the world is allowing. She is very spontaneous and full of spunk for a late teenager. Clarisse McClellan sees the world as fun rather than time-consuming or laborous. She sees the world's potential beauty in the clouds and likes to be outside to breath the fresh, clean air. These actions are very strange for anyone in the novel. Most people look to stay out of trouble from the police, but Clarisse embraces it and spreads her joy into Montag's life. She asks questions and wants to know why things happen instead of how things happen. These odd traits are what attracts Montag's attention. He feels happy when they are talking with each other, instead of him talking to his wife or a friend. Even though her family is very much like her and unlike the rest of the world, they seem genuinely happy with how they are living. Then, mysteriously, the McClellans disappear, leaving Montag behind, extremely confused and wondering where they went. He finds out that she is most likely dead, along with her family.

Fahrenheit 451: The Hearth and the Salamander

"The Hearth and the Salamander" is the title of the first section of Fahrneheit 451 and is also a symbol of fire in general. The hearth, also known as a fireplace, is the heart of most homes because it was the main source of heat back when there was no electricity. Families were built around the hearth, and it is also a source of warmth for the soul of the body. The fireplace warms the home like it does to the soul. It gives physical heat to provide life to the people living inside the house, and it also provides a psychological heat to the emotions to calm the body and give a sense of safety and goodness and warmth all over the body. The hearth is also just a symbol of fire in general because it is where most safe fires are. Unfortunately, in this futuristic world in Fahrenheit 451, there is not a hearth in the Montags' home, and thusly there is not a real bonding point in the Montags' relationship which is separating them more by the day. The salamander is one of the official symbols of the firemen. The salamander is believed to live in fire and be completely unharmed by the flames. This is a good representation of the firemen because of the way they do their job. They go into places where "crimes" are taking place and burn them down without feeling anything like emotions or the physical pain from the fire. Also, "the Salamander" is the name they give to their fire truck. These symbols, obviously, both have to do with fire because fire is the dominant factor in Montag's life. Since he is a fireman, his job has to do with making fires and being around or sometimes in fires. Everything about his life circles around fire, including the fire within his body and the fire that has been somewhere else for quite some time in his and Mildred's marriage.

Fahrenheit 451: Captain Beatty

So, then there is this man named Captain Beatty. Captain Beatty is sort of a good fireman. He does not let his job and his emotions run together, but, apparently, he once did; he has a very vast, wide knowledge of books. He knows a lot about what the stories are like and why all the books are banned and illegal now. He most likely once cared very deeply for books. Maybe he was a librarian before the books became illegal. It does not tell me directly about Captain Beatty's past, but I can make these assumptions because of the answers he gives Guy Montag when Montag first wants to know more about the books he has been burning for so many years. During that same talk with Montag, Captain Beatty tells him a grand, elaborate, and yet strangely also sarcastic and ironic story about the past of the firemen breed. He tells him all about when firemen were first started and how they used to put out fires instead of starting them. He talks about when books were still extremely legal and his some of his knowledge of the books. Now, however, since the law has changed, Beatty calls books "treacherous weapons," but he uses them against Montag to control him and keep his life tangled in despair. Okay, so far, Beatty sonds like a pretty bad man, whic he is, but I do not think he is all bad. For instance, he lets Montag have a book, knowing it is against the law, and he tells him to bring it back to the firehouse in a day to burn it. He wants to give Montag a chance. This pretty much shows me that not everything is bad inside him. He obviously cares at least somewhat about the sanity of his friend. If Beatty was all bad, he would not have given permission to Montag to have the book. He also, in the speech he gives Montag, shares an emotional and compassionate side of him with Montag.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fahrenheit 451: Mildred Montag

Mildred Montag is the wife of Guy Montag. She is, like any normal housewife, distraught and cluttered at the beginning as she attampts suicide. Luckily, her loving husband was right there to stop her and take her to the hospital to save her life. The next day, Mildred denies the whole thing. She thinks she knows she would never do that, but after much reasoning from Guy, she accepts it as what it is and moves on. This suicide attempt shows that she is in great pain and that she is afraid of her own life. The television walls in the parlor provide means for her to escape her life and not have to confront her problems and hardships. Although she does her very best to smother her true feelings, they are always still there. Mildred is also just a scary character. She is cold and distant from her husband; it seems like the couple should be intimate, but there are not any examples of their affection in the novel. Instead, she stays almost as far away from Guy as physically possible. She is one extremely lonely lady. But, what she really needs is a way to figure herself out, like Guy, so she too gets herself into books. When Guy reveals his secret stash of books in the air duct to her, Mildred becomes interested in them and uses them for the same reason as Guy, to get a view into her life and to solve status problems within herself. She feels it necessary to get the books into her life and do something really different with Guy. Still, she is very detached from her life, but she loves being a part of the family in the soap opera she loves to watch in the parlor with the giant television screens. Mildred is one heck of a character, and I do not think I even scratched the surface. Expect another entry devoted to her at some time.

Fahrenheit 451: Guy Montag

Ray Bradbury's classic, Fahrenheit 451, tells of this guy, ironicly named Guy, who is the opposite of the perfect hero. Guy works as a fireman in the city, and that sounds like a great job. However, firemen in this novel do not put out fires; they actually start fires. In fact, they start fires for one reason: to rid the world of all the dreaded books. In the beginning, Guy is a model fireman; he starts fires with no questions and turns around as if nothing just happened. Actually, Guy loves doing his job. He sees it as beautiful and a rush to watch the fires he starts. However, as Guy goes through the novel, he finds wonder in the books he burns. He is so intrigued by the books and why are are so bad that he steals some twenty of them from the firehouse to get a glimpse of them. As a result of this massive interest in these forbidden books, his trust and faith in society as a whole rapidly decreases. He no longer loves his job; in fact, his job is killing him inside. He does not know whether he should even have the books because he is certain they will end him up in a whole mess of trouble. Also, he starts making rash desicions and jumps the gun on many things. These quick and usually stupid desicions are prominent when he finds himself setting Captain Beatty on fire. These decisions made in haste are also a representation of Guy's deep yern to rebel against the status quo and find a way of living that means something to him as a human being. In a desperate attempt to find his own self, Guy starts to get more and more into the Bible as means of reading something. He knows that the reading is wrong, but he really needs a way of letting himself be put into a good story, even one that has absolutely nothing to do with his own life.

The Grapes of Wrath: Family and Friendship

In The Grapes of Wrath, there are two sets of people: the Joad clan, and the rest of the migrant workers. Although the Joads are connected biologically, the book suggests that it is not their blood ties that keep them together, but it is really their true friendship and loyalty to each other that keeps the family together as a single unit. In the life of a migrant, like the characters in the novel, the normal group of family members combined in one house is a thing of the past since there are no walls to define the family. The life on the road demands walls to be broken and new friendships to be built as each real and migrant family member grows closer to the other. Who knows when it could be necessary to have friends of another family? Well, for example, Ivy and Sairy Wilson need a friend when they continuously have problems with their car. It proved useful to have the Joads right there, even though they had never met, but luckily for the Wilsons, the Joads happen to be a loving family with outstretching arms to everyone. In the first moment of their interactions with the Wilsons, the Joads accept the new family members as just that, with practically no bumps in the road. In that first encounter, both families joined in harmony to collect each others' hardships and commit to the survival of all members. This same adjoinment for the common good is present in the migrant community as well: "twenty families became on family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream." Facing many difficulties, the ability to keep one's self composed is the ability to love every neighbor. As Tom puts it, every person is his person. Everyone should be warm and hospitable to each other in order to secure their own survival.

The Grapes of Wrath: Summary - Part III

Again starting where the last blog ended, the Joad family leaves the Hooverville and finds a much more suiting, government-run camp. This second camp is not as full as the others had been, and the family is even able to find some work. However, one day when Tom is working at a pipe-laying job, he learns about the police's intentions of staging a riot inside the camp because they have been wanting to shut down the facility. Luckily, by alerting the camp of the plan and organizing everyone, Tom is able to stop the plan and keep the camp alive. Still, without having canstant and steady work, the Joads have to move on, despite the pleasant atmosphere of the government camp. They are next employed to pick fruit, but they soon learn that the good wages are only an attempt to break a workers' strike. Tom runs into Jim Casy again after he has been released from prison, who he learns has been organizing workers; in his wake, however, Jim Casy has upset many of the wealthy landowners who are trying to keep the workers poor and confused and made many enemies among the landowners because of his uprising. Finally, the police hunt down Jom Casy and kill him in front of Tom; he does not take this lightly, of course, and so Tom kills a police officer in return. Tom goes into hiding, and the rest of the family moves into a boxcar on a cotton farm. One day, Ruthie, the youngest of the Joad daughters, accidentally reveals that her brother killed two men and is hiding nearby. Fearing for his safety, Ma finds Tom and sends him away, where he then continues Jim Casy's dream of organizing the migrant workers. The cotton season ends and so do the jobs, and word sweeps around the land that there will not be any more jobs available for another three months. Rain floods the land, and Rose of Sharon gives birth. Ma, desperate to protect her family moves the family to a dry barn not too far down the road. Once there, they find a young boy, kneeling over his starving father. The man has given all of his food to his son in hopes of keeping him alive, but now the man is suffering. Remembering that Rose of Sharon is now producing milk, Ma tells her to nurse the old man back to health, and the book is pretty much over from there.

The Grapes of Wrath: Summary - Part II

Picking up where I left off, the Joads are getting very close to the California state line, and at this point, rumors are being heard of a rapidly depleting job market. One fellow migrant tells Pa Joad that for every 800 jobs available, there are about 20,000 people who show up wanting one of them and that his children have starved to death because of his inability to find work. That, right there, is a real shocker. That means twenty thousand people from out of state are in the area of job searching for each eight hundred available jobs. I cannot even imagine what the decision making process would be like for the people hiring the migrants. How could they choose one person from the thousands of possible applicants? The Joads keep pushing forward, but in their first few days of the California life, tragedy strikes the family as Granma Joad dies. The remaining family members wander from camp to miserable camp, looking without luck for jobs, struggling to find food to stay alive, and desperately trying to hold the family together. Noah, the oldest child, soon abandons the family in search of his own line of work, along with Connie, who is married to Tom's pregnant sister, Rose of Sharon. The migrant camps in California are overcrowded and full of hateful people. The California natives are furious about the massive onslaught of newcomers, whom they label as "Okies." Work is nearly impossible to find, or the wages from the jobs are too little to keep a family afloat. Fearing hostile takeover, the wealthy landowners do everything they can to keep the migrants needy and dependent. While staying in the Hooverville, Tom and several other men get into an argument with a sheriff over whether or not the workers should form a union. As the dispute turns violent, Jim Casy knocks out the sheriff and is consequently arrested. Police officers arrive and tell everyone that they are going to burn the Hooverville down.

The Grapes of Wrath: Summary - Part I

In the beginning, there is this man, Tom Joad, who, after having spent the last four years of his life locked up in an Oklahoma state prison for a manslaughter conviction, is making his way back to his family's farm in Oklahoma. Along the way, he meets Jim Casy, an ex-preacher who has given up his true calling in search of spreading his own new beliefs. Jim joins Tom's travel back home, but when they arrive at the old farm, they find it, like the farms in the close vicinity, vacant and deserted. Muley Graves, an old resident of the town, happens upon the pair and explains to them all about how the family packed up and was "tractored" off the land. He tells them that most families, including his own, are moving to California in hopes of finding new and better work. The next morning, Tom and Jim go to Tom's uncle John's where Muley says the Joad family should be. Tom finds Ma and Pa Joad packing the family and getting ready to head out for California because they say some fliers for fruit-packing jobs out west. The journey to find work in California in the back of a rickety old truck is long and boring. Grampa Joad, after complaining bitterly that he does not want to leave his land, dies shortly after the family moves out. Hundreds of old, overused cars and trucks clog the lanes of Highway 66, and it seems everyone east of California is heading there in the same hopes of the Joads. On the road, the Joads meet Ivy and Sairy Wilson, a couple who have been plagued with car trouble their entire trip, and, being such an inviting family, the Joads offer the Wilsons to come along with them to continue their journey. The Wilsons accept the offering and abandon their useless car to join new friends in a great endeavor. However, near the border into California, Sairy Wilson falls ill and is unable to continue the journey, causing the devoted Ivy to stay behind as well.

The Grapes of Wrath: Man's Inhumanity

Steinbeck continuosly show me as a reader that absolutely none of the Joads' misfortune is of misfortune or bad luck. Instead, he suggests that this misfortune is brought on by fellow men. Economic sufferings or greatness separate people into true classes. There is the person who wins, and there is another one who loses. There is the person who collects money, and there is another who pays it. There is the person who provides housing, and there is another who lives in it. And unfotunately, much of the higher class person's salary or income is directly from those people in the much lower classes. Because of this situation, it is easy for the lower class to slip into poverty if jobs are not plentiful enough. They are already giving money to others to "help themselves," but they are really only digging themselves a deeper hole to climb out of. Meanwhile, on the high class side of things, these people are also struggling deeply to maintain their own social standings. They have to fight amongst themselves to hold positions of wealth and not let too much of their wealth slip away into someone else's hands. In chapter 19 of The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck portrays the state of California as a bunch of no good, power and land hungry jerks who basically stole the land from Mexican people, worked on it for a little while, and claimed it as their own. Fearing a second migrant takeover, the established landowners in California set up a system among themselves to treat the incoming people as little more than animals, taken from one miserable camp to the next and given terribly underpaid wages, forcing them to turn on each other to simply stay alive. In the novel, there is a simple line, drawn in the sand, that divides the population into rich and poor. Steinbeck identifies this line as the biggest source of evil in the world.

The Grapes of Wrath: Selfishness

In Steinbeck's classic, The Grapes of Wrath, selfish actions play a large part of how the story turns out. For instance, many families are full of self-interest members, and that uncaring for others ends up being a major downfall. Because most of the higher class landowners or wealthy people also share these same selfish thoughts, they are what forces many smaller families under the poverty line in the book, like the Joads. However, rising above these selfish surroundings, there is also the Joad family. They know and understand that if their journey is going to be successful in the long-run, they must each make sacrifices for the better of the clan. The Joads become closer to one another in the fashion, sharing both rejoices and downfalls that fellow family members may have. Again with the contradictions, not everyone in this world is bad. For example, in chapter 13, I think it is, there is a gas station attendant who has been overworked or underpaid, I am unsure which, that the Joad family meets at the station. The man is uncertain whether or not to help the family, but he first insults them to start making "real good friends." This would be an example of selfishness and fear in the world, but the next example is of kindness and generosity. Mae, being a waitress at a coffee shop the Joads happen to stumble into, sells bread and sweets to a man and his son for extremely low prices only from the good of her heart. In return, a couple truckers who are on their way out of the same coffee shop leave an extra large tip for the kind and giving lady. See, every story has two side to it. There is one side, and there is the right side. The truckers, obviously, represent the right side. I am glad to know that even Steinbeck, in this case, understands that rule and puts it to good use.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Grapes of Wrath: Leadership

At the very beginning of The Grapes of Wrath, the Joad family is well based on the classic male dominance pattern. Pa Joad is in command of his family with a loving and supporting wife to back him up at all times. The men of the family and of the time frame tell everyone what to do, and the women, well, do it. These roots are so firmly embedded in the Joad household that they continue with Grampa Joad as the head of the house even though he is probably way too old to act responsibly on the issues and matters of the house. However, on the journey west to seek much needed work in California, this entire classic family structure gets turned upside down. Distraught by so many failures piling up one on top of the other, Pa Joad is relieved of the position of the head of the house to sulk to himself in his lost thoughts, confusion, and turmoil. In his place, Ma steps up to the plate to take control of the deteriorating family. Pa, still unsure of what is happening all around him, threatens Ma Joad in a failed attempt at maintaining his position in the family. Ma, on the other hand, is a tremendous leader. She rights the ship of the family and presses onward to victory and a permanent role as head of the family. At this point in the story, the female figure has risen to shining glory while the male figure has shrunk and retreated into thought. Once weak and powerless, the women in the family are strong desicion makers, and the once strong and noble men have fled, in the case of Tom Joad, or fallen apart, like Pa. This sort of revolution is also present in the world outside of the family. The Weedpatch camp is a gavernment by the people, for the people, including every person, even women. This is another entirely new philosophy for the time period, and this one is one that will prove to stay intact for much more time than some of the people may think.

The Grapes of Wrath: Jim Casy

A former preacher, Jim Casy is one interesting fellow. Mainly, he is not at all still following his own words, but instead he turned them around. He conceptualizes a whole new breed of holiness and godliness. He says that the most important part of society and worship is not found somewhere up in the sky, but it is actually found down here on Earth. This idea is totally radical for the time period, but Tom Joad seems to have a liking for it as he understands it more. Jim Casy is now saying that the best part of the world is within ourselves, rather, other people, yet still inside us as a whole. He says that people are the most important of relationships; this philosophy is almost of humanism but with less concern for love of thy neighbor. As such a promoter of his own words, Jim Casy can fairly be compared to Jesus Christ, a man, as I am sure everyone knows, was said to be a healer and a provider for thoousands because of his apparent connection with the Christian God. In the beginning of The Grapes of Wrath, Jim Casy is an ex-preacher who is unsure of how he could promote himself and use his talents for speaking and healing, spiritually, that is, in ways other than congregational leadership. By the end of the novel, Jim Casy is able to round up his abilities and use them to help organize the migrant workers. In fact, Jim Casy dedicates himself so fully to this idea of helping other people with his skills that he gives his own life for it. Casy, by teaching his work, transforms Tom Joad into a selfless man of the people, a real good guy. Tom went from practically hating his life to living for his life in a way that cannot and most likely will not be repeated by any characters of future books in my reading all just because of this one man's words.

The Grapes of Wrath: Pa Joad

Pa Joad is the real brain behind the operation. He is the one who plans the journey west. He takes much time and consideration into mapping out the trip and planning how long it should take and pretty much everything about what they might be doing along the way. However, after so many hours of working on the trip, Pa finds the stress of the situation too much, and he relenquishes his control to his wife, Ma Joad. He works very hard to maintain his status in the family as leader and provider, but he inevitably fails because of "confusion" and because he finds himself in many U-turn thoughts and situations that also fail. However, Pa does not give up on his family. He still tries to provide for his family by keeping them under as much protection as possible and within his own limitations. It is very clear that he loves his family and wishes the best for them all at every moment, but he is simply unable to handle everything at once. In California, pa finds much difficulty in finding a job. When he finally realizes that he may not be able to serve his family in the ways he would like, he turns to despair and turmoil inside his thoughts and confusion. As a result, the poor man becomes less and less able to be the family's leader. Ma, after sitting back and watching for a while as her beloved husband goes down the tubes, tells Pa about her findings, and he reluctantly gives up his position as leader to Ma. Pa's breakdown comes out in full force near the end of the novel when he fails at keeping the family's shelter from flooding. Since Ma is now in charge, Pa goes into a "shell" and lets Ma take over every part of his master plan. His shell also hides him from his own faults, and he begins following Ma like another one of the children.

The Grapes of Wrath: Ma Joad

Ma Joad is the real stronghold in the Joad family. She is the one who is in charge, but she does not appear that way until the book progresses almost to the end. She is still very much dominating the family, but Pa is used more as a figurehead for Ma's control. As the journey continues, Pa's role as a provider for the family deminishes. He loses strength as a leader of the family, and Ma feels the need to take over for the poor old man. As things turn for the worse in pretty much every circumstance, Ma stands firm. Ma proves herself to be a steadfast leader, and she is able to show no troubles in her face or even her actions. She gets the family over every obstacle without second-guessing her decisions. She probably demonstrates her command over the family and over herself best during the family's crossing of the California desert. Ma knows that Granma Joad is dead, but she keeps her emotions intact and hides them from the family to protect their already dying situation. Since things are not looking up for the best, Ma is brilliantly able to keep herself and her emotions under her own control, and she does not startle the children with the horrible news. Also, Ma is an extremely decisive leader. She does not falter like Pa bagan to do. Ma is also a good support of togetherness in the family. She did not like when Tom left the family, but she got over those emotions rather quickly and continued leading the family into greatness. In order to promote such togetherness, Ma is forced to make tough desicions that do not necessarily act in her favor; instead, they almost always go to the benefit of the children or family as a whole. In chapter thirty, for example, she is able to send her daughter the message to breast-feed the old man who is dying, despite how morally wrong it seems, not to mention inappropriate.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Grapes of Wrath: Tom Joad

In the beginning of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, there is this guy, Tom Joad. Tom is almost a sort of self-aware person, and he has an enormous sense of self-interest but not too interestd in himself. After being held in jail for four years, he claims himself to devote his time and energy to the present moment. What life has in store for him does not matter. He lives by these rules because he tries to find a way of coping with his fears of insanity. He fears that by thinking of anything other than the right now, - a week or so into the future, for example - he will think too much about it, and he will become paranoid about it until the point where he goes crazy. But, unfortunately, Tom's life holds so much more in store for him than just living from each day to the next. As The Grapes of Wrath progresses, Tom Joad rids himself of this way of living from day to day, and he replaces the old philosophy with thoughts of bettering the future. In the journey to California, Tom becomes a devoted follower of Jim Casy, a former preacher at a church, and he is one big factor to the change of mind within Tom. Jim's beliefs are of relationship and interhumanism. He believes that no one can do much good alone, but that everyone needs some help in changing the world. He also says that one can only achieve godliness and self-fulfillment. All the difficulties the Joads face during their travel to the west push Tom farther and farther into the followings of Jim Casy. Tom eventually realizes that he can no longer stand back and watch as all of the world's injusticies pass by him in such a dark haze. He even feels bad that he cannot work to support his family if it means taking from another family like his family has been doing.

The Grapes of Wrath: First

So, first of all, let me just say that this was by far the hardest book to read this summer. It so long, and it is not the kind of long where everthing is happening and new plot twists arise. No, this is the kind of long that has a thousand completely unnecessary descriptions about what the characters are wearing or thinking or feeling, and everything about the descriptions go on and on and on for no reason, kind of like this sentence because it is just so long and drawn out and boring and dull, and it makes me just want to put the book down. It also had some correlations to previous actions and people that I did not remember because of the way I was reading, - I could not actually read this, I had to skim - and so many difficulties came up. The story behind the words was fairly exciting, but the words themselves, well, I am not sure if I should say exactly how I feel, but it sucks. The biggest problem with the book was just that it was too long for me. The book itself is some like 620 pages. That is a lot. And, the print is pretty small and hard to read. There are like twenty people and characters to keep track of and remember who does and says what. Because these reasons are just some of the factors, it can easily be imagined that John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrathdoes not read like a 620 page novel; it really feels more of about a 1,000 page autobiography of a farmer or someone who lived three hundred years ago and did next to nothing with his life. Also, I kind of did not like the characters because I could not really relate to many of them. They were all people who lived on the streets, sort of, and they went around doing old western things, and it was much different than The Old Man and the Sea and Fahrenheit 451.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea: Final Thoughts

The Old Man and the Sea is an overall good book, despite its obvious nature. The set-up for the plot was and still is used in many novels because of the simplicity behind it. It was fairly easy to read, especially because it was so short. There word choice was very simple: there were not too many big words or phrases other than some words in Spanishv that were fairly basic and easy to figure out. Ernest Hemingway still did a good job of keeping my attention and making me want to get into the book. When I started reading, I do not think there was one day that I did not read at least a couple pages of the novella. I liked how Santiago is so good at fishing, but I also do not like how Santiago is so good at fishing. I know that was contradicting, but there is no way someone can go out and tackle such a beast alone. It does not matter how much experience he has; Santiago should not have been able to hold onto the fish for much more than a couple minutes by himself. No one has that sort of superhuman strength. Also, the marlin seems unbelievable in its own nature because it is just too impressive to believe. The fish is just so big, and I really cannot get over it. It is so crazy. I also liked how Hemingway gave such realism to the characters in their personalities. Santiago is so wise and headstrong but still has the soft, peaceful side to him in his dreams. Manolin is a youthful boy of passion and vigor who never lets anyone down. The marlin is strong, sturdy, and everlasting. All of these characteristics make a solid "cast" in both a movie and a book.Okay, so honestly, the last couple of posts have been to take up numbers because I really do not want to write too much about The Grapes of Wrath. It was not that it was not good, but I would rather write about a book I enjoyed like The Old Man and the Sea.

The Old Man and the Sea: Thoughts - Part VI

Now that I think about it from a new perspective, why are Santiago and Manolin friends? How did they meet in the first place? It is not mentioned, but how do I know Santiago is not actually a creeper? He is an old man who lives alone in a small village in Cuba. That right there is enough to at least hint at his creepiness. The village is probably too small to have a police force to stop him from his crimes against the little boys. Cuba is also not too well known for its righteous police. Mainly, he lives alone in the house. He has all the time to himself to do anything he wants with himself or his friends, if he has and other friends - it is not really discussed. The only time it mentions any of Santiago's friends, other than Manolin, Perico and Martin are the only other people mentioned in Santiago's life. Maybe he and Manolin have something between them more than just fishing and companionship. I, being a third party in the story, have no knowledge of what the two of them may or may not have done together in the past. Santiago could have some sort of fetish love for the young boy. Who knows? Everyone needs a little "companionship" in their lives, if you know what I mean. And, maybe Petrico and Martin are in on the fun with Santiago! It also never discloses the ages of Martin and Petrico. It only tells me that both of them own stores in the village. If only Manolin's father found out about their "relationship," I wonder how he would react if after forty days of just no fish he took his son away from Santiago. Well, Santiago is probably not a creeper, but who knows? Maybe his creepiness is still waiting to develop fully. I mean, come on, no one can look me in the eye and tell me Santiago nnever once had inappropriate thoughts about the boy.

The Old Man and the Sea: Thoughts - Part V

Why do neither the marlin or the old man give up during the three-day struggle? Well, Santiago is fighting for his pride. He knows how important it will be if he is able to bring in the monster at the end of his line. He would feel so proud of himself if he can reel it in, and he also knows how amazed Manolin would be. Since Manolin is not out on the water with the old man, he has no idea what to expect when Santiago comes back to the harbor after so long. He does not know how well Santiago will feel and if he will want to talk. For all he knows, Santiago could have died out on the open ocean in the first day. Putting myself in Manolin's shoes, I think I would have given up on my dear friend probably by the end of the second day. It was amazing that a young boy, especially the young boy's father, would wait for an old man who has been absent for the last four days. Any normal teenager, or a younger child, - I am still not entirely sure how old Manolin is because for all I know, he could really be around ten years old - does not wait for anyone. Also, the Marlin does not give up because it is a fish. Fish, as for as our research has told us thus far, cannot talk or think freely. The marlin's main goal is to get away from Santiago because when he catches it, the old man is going to kill the graceful fish. Obviously, the marlin does not want to die, so it swims and swims until it tires itself out. Then, reluctantly, the marlin finally gives in to the tremendous pressure the old man is giving it to break, and it swims to the surface. I feel slighty sorry for the fish because it just put up such a fight with the man. It pulled the boat over miles and miles, and what does it get? It gets torn apart by lousy sharks who come by for a quick and easy meal. It is stripped of its dignity with the meat. How shameful.

The Old Man and the Sea: Thoughts - Part IV

The Old Man and the Sea as a whole was moving and inspiring. It tells of a classic situation where burning passion and commitment eventually triumph in the longrun. Ernest Hemingway undoubtedly presents his novella in this format, including an evil villain (the great marlin) and a goodhearted hero (Santiago) who lock together in an epic and climactic battle for all of eternity. I like these kinds of books because they are so ridiculously predictable. How could I not have seen the old man win? If he had not, what fun would there be in rooting for the bad guy to win? That is not how any comic book I have read ends. However, because of the repeated nature of the story, The Old Man and the Sea is one hundred percent predictable, which draws a little away from the force of the story. It is exciting through to the very last words, and the book ends in grand fashion with the hero lying peacefully in his bed, dreaming his sweet, recurring dream of a pride of lions frolicking on the beautiful beach in Africa. I felt sad for Santiago when his precious, once-in-a-lifetime catch was eaten by such pathetic scavengers. That was really the only part of the novel that I did not see coming. What makes it fair to have such grand amounts of pride stripped from him in the last few hours? Why could he not have just gotten to shore easily after such a struggle just to reel in the marlin? Why, Ernest Hemingway? Tell me, why? Santiago never did anything bad in his life for as long as I can tell, so why can he not just have this moment of self gratification in his life? He pays his taxes and makes his way through the world along with everyone else, so why can nothing go the right way? The man is old and has been through so many hardship throughout his life, please, someone just give him a break.

The Old Man and the Sea: Thoughts - Part III

I really like Manolin's character. His love for the old man is undying, but he knows just the right combination of smothering love and extreme amounts of help to win over the man's affection. Manolin is a young boy living in the same village as Santiago, and he used to be part of the old man's fishing boat. They went out together for apparently a good amount of time to build such a strong ffriendship, but when they had some pretty bad luck for forty straight days, Manolin's father forced him off Santiago's boat in hopes of finding a better, more prosperous ship for young Manolin to work on. His father, first of all, made the right decision. It was quite unfortunate for the young boy and the old man, but as always, the father knows best. He was within every right to send his son onto a better boat because he needs to think of the best ways to support his family. This said, however, it was not very nice to Manolin who obviously loves the old man as a second father. He will not be able to have as strong of a relationship with Santiago as he once did, but they are at least satill able to visit before and after the day of fishing. Manolin takes this decision very maturely and accepts his own fate, however unhappy it may make him. Manolin decides to make the best out of the situation he is placed in, and he loves his father just as much as ever. Manolin does still make small references to his father's cruel dicision in conversations with Santiago, but they are nothing extremely negative. If I was in the same place, I would beg and plead for my father to let me continue with my best friend. It would not matter to me if we were not doing well on the seas in terms of fish, but I would be excited to be able to grow the friendship between myself and the old man.

The Old Man and the Sea: Thoughts - Part II

Santiago is also just a very suiting type of character for the role here. He is deeply passionate for what he is doing, and he shows it even after an eighty-four-day losing streak without being able to catch any fish. The book also mentions a previous streak of eighty-seven days without a catch which is Santiago's stillstanding record for longest period without any luck of fishing. He is extremely headstrong, and he pushes himself through every difficulty he faces. An ordinary man in the same situation would most likely have cut the fish loose after so much pain it has caused. The marlin cut his hands and his back, but Santiago never loosens his grip on the beast. He knows that he is the better opponent, and when he needs it, he thinks of the "great Joe DiMaggio," who he knows is a strong competitor, fighting through a bone spur to become one of the greatest and most well known baseball players of all time, as a model for how he should behave in times of trouble. Santiago is also very wise. He knows just where he needs to be to find the big fish, and he knows how to attract them, even though he did have a small period of trouble. He knows he can wrangle a deep sea fish with just a fishing line and his bare hands. He is also able to control multiple lines at once, each ranging from almost on the surface of the water to down below where he might be able to catch a passing crab as it moves over the line sitting at the bottom of the ocean. And, with so many lines in the water simultaneously, he is still able to control the depths and how the bobbers are positioned on top of the water. It amazes me that, even though he has had so many years of practice, anyone can possess these skills, let alone an old, frail man.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea: Thoughts - Part I

First of all, let me just say this was a good book. It was not as bad as I thought it might be. In fact, it was not bad at all. It told of a good plot line and a couple solid characters, not to mention, I really loved the length. I think it is the shortest of the books I am reading this summer. Santiago is a steadfast man of seemingly fair character despite his age. He is very old, and in my experience, old men are usually crochety and grouchy when it comes to kids, especially me. When I was younger, we had a neighbor who lived alone and enjoyed sitting outside on the porch in his rocker. I had a few friends who lived down the road, and they would walk down to my house, and we would play freeze tag or baseball or some other pick-up game. Unfortunately, we always had to set up crazy boundries because by no means at all could we even think of looking at the old man's yard. When a ball went in it, he literally sat there, looked at us momentarily, and busted out with a grand, gasping sort of laugh. Why is Santiago not like that? Is my memory not actually how all old men are? I suppose it is because Santiago is a fisherman, and there was not much fishing around where I lived. It must be the smells of the open seas that calm the senses of Santiago. But enough of that. I enjoyed reading The Old Man and the Sea because it also had a phenomenal, yet extremely predictable, ending. See, when a man goes out fishing and catches such an amazing feat, it is only inevitable that no one else actually gets to marvel at it. It would be too good to be true if the marlin was brought into shore intact, but instead, the only option is to have the marlin torn apart. Since the marlin would feed so many people, it could only happen in fairytales. I apologize Ernest Hemingway, but your story is ridiculously obvious. It really is not even funny.

The Old Man and the Sea: Lions on the Beach

In Ernest Hemingway's novella, The Old Man and the Sea, the main character, Santiago, has a recurring dream of a pride of lions playing together on the beach of Africa, a memory he has from a fishing trip along the coast of Africa. He apparently remembers the lions crawling over each other and just having fun, but he was not in any danger, for he was still out on the fishing vessel. Santiago dreams of this memory three times during the five-day story, and he also mentions that he had had the dream repeatedly for quite a long time before he goes on the fishing trip to find the marlin. The first time he has the dream is the night before he ventures far out, and he still had no idea of what is to come, so he is able to rest peacefully. The second occurs during his fight with the marlin when he is able to sleep briefly in the night and still hold onto the grand fish. The final time he dreams of the lions on the beach is when he is once again at home in his own bed and can sleep soundly knowing his friend, Manolin, is still there. The last viewing of the dream is the most comforting and heartwarming because the old man had just gone through three days of battle with hardly any rest to take his mind away from it all. It is such a fitting end to the book because it shows Santiago is happy with everything that happened as a whole, despite all the difficulties and troubles along the way. Since Santiago associates the lions on the beach with his childhood of fishing, the lions are symbols of the circle of life where such ferocious predators always have the side of compassion and adorability. Also because of that, the dream shows the harmony between life and death. The predators (death) are, in this case, playing and so full of life that I cannot help but notice the grace and beauty of the line between life and death.

The Old Man and the Sea: Unappearing Characters

There are three main characters in The Old Man and the Sea who are never even physically present in the story. These characters are Joe DiMaggio, the famous New York Yankees' center fielder, Perico, a friendly store owner in the village, and Martin, another nice man who works in the village. Although they never speak or show themselves, all three play important parts in the plot in each of their own unique ways. Joe DiMaggio, for example, is hundreds of miles away in New York, but he is still not only Santiago's favorite baseball player, but also a major role model. When Santiago feels weak or down, he thinks of the "great Joe DiMaggio" and of what he might do in the same situation. DiMaggio comes up multiple times in The Old Man and the Sea as an inspiration for Santiago. One notable occurance is when Santiago's left hand, being under too much stress, cramps and becomes useless. He thinks of the "great Joe DiMaggio" and how he played through a bone spur, and he set his mind to getting over the cramp and forcing it to release. DiMaggio is worshiped as a character of amazing strength and commitment. Perico is the owner of a shop in town. He is only mentioned a few times in the book, but he seems to be a friendly character. His role in The Old Man and the Sea is to provide the daily newspaper to Santiago, so he can read through it and mainly check the baseball box scores. It is not stated, but as I understand, Perico gives this service for no charge. This says a lot about the values of him as a human; he must be a very generous and caring man. Martin serves about the same purpose as Perico, but he gives Santiago food instead of the paper from the cafe he runs in the village. Manolin goes and fetches the food most days from the restaurant and brings it back to the man for him.

The Old Man and the Sea: Righteous Kill?

Toward the end of Ernest Hemingway's classic novella, The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago feels quite uncertain whether he was right in killing the marlin or not. He is afraid he has done more bad than good because of the end result of the fish, being entirely torn apart by savages (the sharks). It seems unfair to the beautiful and marvelous marlin to have been stripped of its glorious meat. There is a quote from the book that is fitting and it runs as so: "'You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food,' he thought. 'You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive, and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it?'" Santiago wages this debate within himself for nearly the entire venture on the seas, but he finally voices himself at this point because everything is culminating into a horrible end for the fishing trip of a lifetime. In the end, Santiago puts away these thoughts and settles himself on the kill being fine with him. He feels extremely apologetic toward the marlin for having it disgraced in such a shameful fashion. In the quote, Santiago expresses why he killed the amazing fish: his own pride. He was too proud of the catch to let it go, too proud of himself for finding the fish and knowing where to look, and too proud of his skills as a fisherman and the thought of being able to feed the entire town with the meat from the marlin. I think Santiago does an excellent job of justifying his decision to continue pursuing the catch of the marlin through to the very end. It would have been amazing to be able to bring the fish into shore and to gloat about it, but it was really just unfortunate that the marlin was stolen on the journey back to land.

The Old Man and the Sea: Days Four and Five

The morning of the fourth day wakes Santiago with a start when the marlin jerks him onto the floor of the boat, facedown in the dolphin meat. The line feeds out fast, and the old man instinctively grabs the line and holds on tight with it over his shoulder and across his back. In the first minute of the day, his left hand receives more cuts. Again, Santiago longs for the boy's company and help. In hopes of gaining back some of his strength, Santiago eats the second flying fish. As the sun rises, the hopes of the battle coming to an end rise, and the marlin begins to circle, an obvious sign of weakness and defeat in the fish. For hours, the old man fights with the marlin over every inch of line, allowing the monster to gain a little ground, only to reel it back in plus more when the fish was not paying much attantion. Nearing the point of absolute exhaustion, Santiago begins to see spots and feels dizzy and faint, but he feels the struggle coming to an end in the close future. The fish grows more and more anxious as it rams the boat with its spear. When the enormous marlin passes underneath the boat, Santiago gets a good, upclose view of the giant and adds enough pressure to keep the fish close to the boat. Finally, after three days, the fish comes in close enough to the boat for Santiago to flip it on its side and drive a harpoon through it, causing it to make one last burst out of the water and die in a glorious fashion. With blood pooling around the fish, Santiago pulls the boat up next to the dead carcass, straps the marlin to the side of the boat, and sets a course for home. After only an hour of sailing, a hungry mako shark comes swimming up to the fish, but Santiago is ready for such an attack, driving his harpoon into the shark during its first bite. The shark sinks away, taking the harpoon, the rope, and a mouthful of the marlin. Now, unarmed and with the fish still pouring out blood, Santiago has all but given up. A while later, two more sharks come by to eat, and Santiago fights them away with a makeshift spear he made from a knife lashed onto an oar. After the fish going through so many embarassments, the old man apologizes to it. Santiago feels sick to even think about the mutilated remains of the once beautiful remains of the marlin. Late that night, a pack of sharks arrives, but Santiago is no match for so many sharks in the dark, and they make away with just about all the remains of the carcass. Feeling defeated, Santiago washes into the harbor and carries the mast of the boat up to his house. Once home, he finally is able to get a good night's sleep. Early the following morning, Manolin comes to Santiago's house to peer in the window and, to his relief, see his friend finally safe at home. He goes away to fetch his friend's coffee as fishermen and tourists gather around the boat with the skeletal remains of the marlin still strapped to the side. One fisherman measures the fish to be eighteen feet long, and a passing tourist mistakes the fish for a shark. Santiago awakes to find Manolin there, waiting for him with his hot coffee. They talk about Santiago's adventure for a short while, and Manolin leaves to find food and the newspaper for his old companion. As he goes, Santiago falls asleep again to dream of the lions.

The Old Man and the Sea: Day Three

At the beginning of day three of the story, Santiago is still locked with the marlin over control of the line. A small bird comes in, presumably after a long night of flying over the ocean, and rests on the line connecting Santiago and the marlin. Since the bird decides to stay for a while to rest its tired wings, Santiago quickly creates a friendship with the bird and strikes up a friendly "conversation." The man guesses this to be the bird's first long trip and warns the bird of the dangers of the hawks it will meet when it flies closer to shore. He advises the bird to rest up well before he makes the final journey into the land. Without warning, the marlin makes a quick surge which nearly throws Santiago overboard and causes the man's new companion to fly away. As he regains control of the line, Santiago notices deep cuts in his hands from where the line had been sitting when the fish lurched and that they are bleeding. Knowing that he must keep his strength up, the old man forces himself to eat some of the raw tuna he caught the previous day. As he cuts and eats the small fish with his right hand, his left hand turns into a sort of claw and cramps up under the immense strain of the weight of the fish's pull. Santiago becomes angry with his hand for its inabilities and frustrated with the pathetic weakness of his own body, but he hopes the nourishing tuna will allow the weakness to relenquish the grip on his left hand. As he eats the raw fish meat, he almost feels rude for not offering any to the fish below, using so much energy to pull the boat. Still waiting for the cramp in his hand to loosen, Santiago notices the direction and angle of the line beginning to change. To the clever fisherman, this is a telltale sign that the fish is about to surface, revealing itself to the man, finally. Suddenly, the fish leaps out of the water, allowing the man to see it for the first time; Santiago realizes it is much larger than he has ever seen, probably at least two feet longer than his miserable boat. He also realizes the beauty and valor of the fish and vows never to let the fish gain knowledge of its own strengths. Just as suddenly as it appeared, the fish races back down to the depths of the ocean to pull the boat some more. In the downtime, Santiago baits another line in hopes of catching another meal for himself. As the day continues, he questions himself for seeking the death of such a noble combatant and finally justifies the decision. Then, when day turns to night, he wonders how the great Joe DiMaggio and the Yankees did that day, and he thinks of how DiMaggio has played through bone spurs. Altough he is unsure of what a bone spur is, Santiago imagines it to be excruciatingly painful and compares his ordeal to the bone spurs of DiMaggio. Just before night totally takes over, a dolphin snags the second line he baited earlier that day, and he reels it in with a bonus: the dolphin's stomach contains two flying fish. As night falls, Santiago decides to rest with the line over his back instead of in his hands. After two hours of rest, the tired man falls asleep to dream of dolphins, a storm, and his beautiful lions in Africa.

The Old Man and the Sea: Days One and Two

So, there is this man named Santiago, an old fisherman who has, to his unluck, gone straight through the last eighty-four days without catching any fish. For the first forty days of this fishless drought, Santiago had received friendship, compassion, and, most of all, a great deal of help from a young boy, Manolin. Manolin's father, after hearing about the terrible fishing his son is having with this old man, forces Manolin off of Santiago's boat and onto a new boat in hopes of better, more prosperous fishing. Even without his young apprentice, Santiago's love for fishing remains steadfast as he pushes on in search of the break he has been waiting for for so many days. In the evening of the first day of the story, the pair of men are walking home from the beach with all the day's fishing gear when they stop by a cantina, of sorts, to have a beer. Together, they remember previous days of fishing side by side, and the old man is made fun of for going so long without any luck. He shrugs it off and proclaims that the following day will be the day to go out and get the big fish. They haul the gear back to Santiago's house, which is run-down and furnished poorly, and start their daily ritual of trivial conversation and repeated actions. After a quick dinner - a gift from the cafe owner - Manolin returns home, and the tired, old man goes to sleep where he dreams his favorite dreams of lions playing on the beach of Africa. Before sunrise of the second day, Santiago walks to Manolin's house to wake the boy, and the two gather fishing supplies and head down to the shore. The man and boy part ways, and Santiago heads out on his boat to find the big fish. His years of practice have left him with the ability to control the depths of his lines and position without letting the bobbers tip over. As the sun comes up, the old man realizes he has drifted out too far, and now he cannot even see land. Suddenly, the bobber attached to the 100-fathom line dips as the marlin becomes more and more interested. The wise man is sure it must be a big one. Just as quickly as the first touch happened, Santiago finds himself with a bite. Oddly, the man is unable to pull on the fish; instead, it pulls him. By the end of the first day, Santiago has been fighting the fish since noon and has been dragged over much distandce by the fish, and he is wishing for the boy's help.

The Old Man and the Sea: The Marlin's Effects

As was previously stated, the old man, Santiago, goes far out to sea to find himself the biggest and best fish in the Caribbean only to find himself, instead, rapped in a fight of life or death between himself and an enormous monster marlin. As the struggle wages on into the second and third days still without any signs of give from either the strong fish or the wise, old man, Santiago cannot help but think of the tremendous power and strength his fish must hold. It is ridiculous to expect a regular fish to possess the ability to tow a fully grown man sitting on a small fishing boat on the open seas away from the land at such a constant speed to continue gaining ground on the man for just about a full three days. These thoughts wrap around Santiago and cause a fairly powerful relationship to form with only the highest and utmost respect for the fish. He feels his body nagging at him to rest and sleep and to get a good meal, but this respect he has for such a willing combatant allows him to stow away his thoughts and keep pressing onward. The friendship that has grown between the two beings also brings with it an aspiring love to not have to kill the man's adversary. He feels as if the fish should be able to live by itself in the ocean because of its beauty and grace. The old man marvels at the thought of just a single fish pulling and tugging at the fishing line and how amazing the fish must be to keep up with as solid of a pace as this one. Also, the marlin gives Santiago the strength and will power to continue the fight because Santiago does not want to lose any battle, let alone one with a fish. As he recalls, he once was in an arm wrestling match that went on for hours and hours until finally the old man had broken the other's spirit and took down the opponent in one solid effort.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea: Manolin

Manolin is a young fellow with fishing in his blood. His father, presumably, is or was at one time a fisherman because Manolin is a fisherman at such a young age. His father most likely pushed Manolin into fishing when he was a young lad, and since his father stopped fishing or could not fish anymore, the boy had to pick up the "family business." Although his physical presence is only in the beginning and end of Hemingway's classic novella, the thought of the boy on the shore inspired Santiago to continue his fight with the beast of a fish. Manolin goes to the old man's house every morning to bring him a cup of coffee and the day's newspaper. The old man reads through the baseball scores as he drinks his coffee and talks with Manolin. Together , they gather up necessities for the day and head down to the beach with the small boat's mast and sail. Manolin wishes the old man good day and walks to the boat he is part of as Santiago heads out to sea. The book never mentions what Manolin's day is like, but he is always there when Santiago returns to the dock. The young boy helps the old man take apart the boat again and carry the mast back up to the house where they talk a little more. Manolin gets the man some blankets and food and makes sure he gets to sleep well, then returns home to repeat everything the next day. Manolin is also an undeniable lover. He never once fades from the old man, but instead, he helps him and is entirely devoted to being a great friend to Santiago. By doing so, the two fishermen remain close friends, almost like father and son. Manolin's dedication to Santiago is unfailing and all-inclusive even through the epic fight between the old man and the marlin. Although his father practically forced him into fishing, he is very happy with it, that is, until his father does not let him fish with Santiago after such a long time of coming into shore empty-handed. Instead, he goes to work for another ship, relatively unhappily.

The Old Man and the Sea: Santiago's Pride

Santiago has a tremendous amount of pride within himself, for the fish, and for the boy back home on the land. His own pride for himself includes his will to keep fighting even when everything in his future looks growingly bleak, and he is proud of himself for having the stamina and endurance through it all. As the struggle between man and fish burns on into the second, third, and fourth days, Santiago almost never thinks about giving in to the seemingly everlasting power of the marlin. The fish pulls and pulls, but the old, weary man holds firm, even with exhaustion, muscle cramps, fatigue, and the urge for good sleep looming above his head. Beside the love for Manolin and keeping his mind up with separate thoughts, his pride is almost entirely what keeps him above water, literally, in the sense that the fish could pull him down under the water in any sudden burst of energy. He is proud of his body for being able to keep up with the marlin for so long; he is proud to know that this fish must be the worthy adversary he has longed for for so many days; he is proud to think that there is a boy back home that is eagerly awaiting his return. His pride also allows him to continue, knowing that there are only two possible outcomes to the battle: winning and having the glory of a lifetime, or losing and succumbing to the strength of the fish and, very likely, death. He is also extremely proud of the fish because it is showing the same amounts of strength as the old man to pull the boat as far as it has. Santiago knows it must be a huge fish because of his inability to gain any sort of ground on the marlin. He is proud of himself for knowing how far out he must go to hook such a large fish. Finally, his pride extends into the boat for holding itself intact for such a long period.

The Old Man and the Sea: Santiago

Throughout Hemingway's classic novella, the old man, given the name Santiago because of his apparent Cuban background, faces countless troubles and hardships through physical, mental, and spiritual scenarios. A simple fisherman, Santiago goes out onto the rough and grueling seas to break his eighty-four-day drought of unluck and no fish. He feels eighty-five could be his lucky number as he ventures out of the safety of the dock on the first day in hopes of finding the biggest and baddest fish in the ocean - the catch of his lifetime. As he heads out, he notices the other fishermen staying closer to shore and thinks to himself about how he will do so much better going out farther to find the big fish. Unfortunately, he might have gone a bit too far as he quickly finds himself in a fight with a monster of a marlin. As the struggle continues, he thinks about his friend back home, Manolin, who is a young yet passionate and avid fisherman, and how marvelous it would be if he could bring home his catch. During his endeavor, the thought of Manolin waiting for him gave Santiago the heart and will to pull through and just give at least a little more effort. For entertainment, he dreams of how his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees, have been doing, especially with their star player, Joe DiMaggio. He loves baseball and listening to the box scores on the radio or reading about how the teams are doing in the newspaper. Also, Santiago uses the marlin as not only an adversary, but as a respected friend. He talks not only to the fish but somehow talks with the fish. Obviously, marlins or any other kind of fish cannot talk to most people, but because of his high respect for the fish, he gives it its own sort of voice to have a friend out on the ocean. Insanity would certainly take over the body without something to occupy the mind, not only in Santiago but in anyone.

The Old Man and the Sea: Christianity and Crucifixion

Ernest Hemingway portrays his fictional character, Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea, as a seeming and obvious connection to Christianity's biggest name, Jesus Christ. Hemingway puts Santiago through a few challenges to make correlations to Christ during crucifixion. Among these scenes are Christ's walk to Calvary with his own future death, the cross, on his back, the ways in which Christ was tortured, including his hands being nailed onto the cross and the lashes he received from so many whips, and the result of an epic battle of time and wits between his own strength and gravity pulling life out of him, inch by inch. At the start of the day, Christ was forced to travel on foot over numerous miles of unforgiving terrain in bare feet with two heavy pieces of wood held together in an awkward position on his back. Hemingway includes this in the novella by having Santiago carry his ship's mast across his shoulders down to the dock to assemble his ship. He must struggle every morning to get the mast down and back before and after the day's fishing trip. Next, just as Christ was given scars from the lines scraping across his body, Santiago receives the same kinds of scars from the fishing line running through his hands and across his back. The marlin is so strong that it is able to drag the boat, held only by Santiago himself, across the ocean. Such a force caused extreme amounts of stress on the old man's body, turning into cuts and deep gashes. Finally, as Christ did, Santiago endured and was able to win the battle, even having lost all strength. He reeled in his catch of a lifetime, and headed in for shore. Along the way, death came in and stole the flesh of the fish, like the life of Christ, but perserverence came through and glorified Santiago through the marvel of even the skeletal remains of the catch and glorified Christ by rewarding the hardships he faced during that fateful day.