Book Review: The Old Man and The Sea


Nicole Kutos, Staff Writer

Ernest Hemingway’s novella The Old Man and The Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. After going 84 days without catching a fish, Santiago sails out further than other fishermen and gets into a battle with an 18 foot marlin.

Despite winning the battle against the fish, Santiago begins to lose his prize as he nears the shore. Sharks feed on the marlin and as they do so the blood attracts other sharks. Santiago returns to shore with very little of his marlin before going home to rest.

Hemingway’s short, choppy sentences are reflective of his concentrated and calculated hero.

A story of man versus fish, of man versus nature, and of a man and his courage, Hemingway does not embellish Santiago’s position nor his thoughts; he only writes the points necessary to the story, much how Santiago only does what is necessary for his survival as he takes each day by day.

What did I really think of this novella? I hated it. I hated every moment of it.

An old man battles a fish and then loses most of the fish. That’s all that happened, in my opinion. I understand how people see the plot as a broader and more metaphorical commentary on courage, bravery, or whatever else, but I really can’t see why this book is worth reading.

My edition is only 127 pages and I was bored by page 30. Why did I keep reading, you might ask? As an English major, Hemingway is one of those authors you’re just supposed to know about, so I figured I’d give it a try. I had hoped for the best for a novella about fishing and I was much more disappointed than I thought I’d be.

I think that there will also be some classics that I don’t really see how they became such revered works, but this one might have just landed at the top of my list and knocked Dickens’ Great Expectations to #2 (quite a feat since Great Expectations has been there since read it in 9th grade). My recommendation: Don’t read either unless you have to for class.