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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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.

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