I loved this Southpark bit about The Old Man And The Sea before I came to love this short novel, and the bit partly convinced me that I was old enough to read the novel. I can believe that if I had to read this book in school when I was around 13-15, I may have been like the Southpark kids who listened to the heartfelt recounting of the book’s plot by the Hispanic fisherman and said, “that it?”
Having matured, and being almost thirty, I was able to connect with what Hemingway was putting down, and I thought it was beautiful the whole way through. In one hundred pages, and in the context of mainly a single (arduous, impressive) catch, the author vividly gets across ideas of care-giving, duty, respect, character, ecology, labour, and aging.
I found the character of the old man, Santiago, unexpectedly affecting, and though he’s not quite like the Greek hero Ulysses, in this short book his character lines up exactly with the last handful of lines from Tennyson’s poem about an aged Ulysess.
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
I loved this book, and I’ll certainly be reading more of Hemingway’s work now.