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The Old Man And The Sea

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The last major work of Ernest Hemingway written in Cuba. A Pulitzer winning novel that tells the story of an ageing fisherman 'Santiago' who struggled with a huge marlin for a whole night to restore his status with other fisherman and who fought for his dignity in the thundering sea.
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The last major work of Ernest Hemingway written in Cuba. A Pulitzer winning novel that tells the story of an ageing fisherman 'Santiago' who struggled with a huge marlin for a whole night to restore his status with other fisherman and who fought for his dignity in the thundering sea.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781500255442
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/20/2014
  • Pages: 78
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Ernest Hemingway
The winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature, Ernest Hemingway is one of the true giants of modern American literature. Hemingway's punchy, pared-down style and ability to zero in on the perfect characterizing detail of a person or scene has influenced every serious novelist of the second half of the 20th century. Everyone reads him at one time or another.


Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), born in Oak Park, Illinois, started his career as a writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. Before the United States entered the First World War, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in the Italian army. Serving at the front, he was wounded, was decorated by the Italian Government, and spent considerable time in hospitals. After his return to the United States, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers and was soon sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution.

During the twenties, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also Rises (1926). Equally successful was A Farewell to Arms (1929), the study of an American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Among his later works, the most outstanding is the short novel, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), the story of an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat.

Hemingway -- himself a great sportsman -- liked to portray soldiers, hunters, bullfighters - tough, at times primitive people whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal ways of modern society, and who in this confrontation lose hope and faith. His straightforward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories, some of which are collected in Men Without Women (1927) and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Hemingway died in Idaho in 1961.

© The Nobel Foundation 1954.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ernest Miller Hemingway (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 21, 1899
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oak Park, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      July 2, 1961
    2. Place of Death:
      Ketchum, Idaho

First Chapter

from The Old Man and the Sea

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy's parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.

The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert.

Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.

"Santiago," the boy said to him as they climbed the bank from where the skiff was hauled up. "I could go with you again. We've made some money."

The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him.

"No," the old man said. "You're with a lucky boat. Stay with them."

"But remember how you went eighty-seven days without fish and then we caught big ones every day for three weeks."

"I remember," the old man said. "I know you did not leave me because you doubted."

"It was papa made me leave. I am a boy and I must obey him."

"I know," the old man said. "It is quite normal."

"He hasn't much faith."

"No," the old man said. "But we have. Haven't we?"

"Yes," the boy said. "Can I offer you a beer on the Terrace and then we'll take the stuff home."

"Why not?" the old man said. "Between fishermen."

They sat on the Terrace and many of the fishermen made fun of the old man and he was not angry. Others, of the older fishermen, looked at him and were sad. But they did not show it and they spoke politely about the current and the depths they had drifted their lines at and the steady good weather and of what they had seen. The successful fishermen of that day were already in and had butchered their marlin out and carried them laid full length across two planks, with two men staggering at the end of each plank, to the fish house where they waited for the ice truck to carry them to the market in Havana. Those who had caught sharks had taken them to the shark factory on the other side of the cove where they were hoisted on a block and tackle, their livers removed, their fins cut off and their hides skinned out and their flesh cut into strips for salting.

When the wind was in the east a smell came across the harbour from the shark factory; but today there was only the faint edge of the odour because the wind had backed into the north and then dropped off and it was pleasant and sunny on the Terrace.

"Santiago," the boy said.

"Yes," the old man said. He was holding his glass and thinking of many years ago.

"Can I go out to get sardines for you for tomorrow?"

"No. Go and play baseball. I can still row and Rogelio will throw the net."

"I would like to go. If I cannot fish with you, I would like to serve in some way."

"You bought me a beer," the old man said. "You are already a man."

"How old was I when you first took me in a boat?"

"Five and you nearly were killed when I brought the fish in too green and he nearly tore the boat to pieces. Can you remember?"

"I can remember the tail slapping and banging and the thwart breaking and the noise of the clubbing. I can remember you throwing me into the bow where the wet coiled lines were and feeling the whole boat shiver and the noise of you clubbing him like chopping a tree down and the sweet blood smell all over me."

"Can you really remember that or did I just tell it to you?"

"I remember everything from when we first went together."

The old man looked at him with his sun-burned, confident loving eyes.

"If you were my boy I'd take you out and gamble," he said. "But you are your father's and your mother's and you are in a lucky boat."

"May I get the sardines? I know where I can get four baits too."

"I have mine left from today. I put them in salt in the box."

"Let me get four fresh ones."

"One," the old man said. His hope and his confidence had never gone. But now they were freshening as when the breeze rises.

"Two," the boy said.

"Two," the old man agreed. "You didn't steal them?"

"I would," the boy said. "But I bought these."

"Thank you," the old man said. He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility. But he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of true pride.

"Tomorrow is going to be a good day with this current," he said.

"Where are you going?" the boy asked.

"Far out to come in when the wind shifts. I want to be out before it is light."

"I'll try to get him to work far out," the boy said. "Then if you hook something truly big we can come to your aid."

"He does not like to work too far out."

"No," the boy said. "But I will see something that he cannot see such as a bird working and get him to come out after dolphin."

"Are his eyes that bad?"

"He is almost blind."

"It is strange," the old man said. "He never went turtle-ing. That is what kills the eyes."

"But you went turtle-ing for years off the Mosquito Coast and your eyes are good."

"I am a strange old man."

"But are you strong enough now for a truly big fish?"

"I think so. And there are many tricks."

Copyright © 1952 by Ernest Hemingway
Copyright renewed © 1980 by Mary Hemingway

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The April 1936 issue of Esquire contained an article entitled "On the Blue Water: A Gulf Stream Letter," written by the magazine's featured contributor Ernest Hemingway. It was a rambling little piece that began with a debate between the author and a friend on the relative thrills of deep-sea fishing and big-game hunting. After a page or so of badinage, Hemingway embarks on a passionate apologia for the joys and beauty of life on the Gulf Stream. That and the other great ocean currents are "the last wild country left." He goes on to describe his own fishing experiences, adding stories told to him by his Cuban mate Carlos. One of the latter was about a giant marlin: old man fishing alone in a skiff out of Cabañas hooked a great marlin that, on the heavy sashcord handline, pulled the skiff out to the sea. Two days later the old man was picked up by fisherman sixty miles to the eastward, the head and forward part of the marlin lashed alongside. What was left of the fish, less than half, weighed eight hundred pounds. The old man had stayed with him a day, a night, a day and another night while the fish swamdeep and pulled the boat. When he had come up the old man had pulled the boat up on him and harpooned him. Lashed alongside the sharks had hit him and the old man had fought them out alone in the Gulf Stream in a skiff, clubbing them, stabbing at them, lunging at them with an oar until he was exhausted and the sharks had eaten all that they could hold. He was crying in the boat when the fishermen picked him up, half crazy from his loss, and the sharks were still circling the boat.
-- that Hemingway returned to the "Santiago story," as he called it. He was living then in his home in Cuba and able to devote himself to the work. The writing went unusually well, and Hemingway was overjoyed by this surging of creative powers.

As he had originally planned to do, Hemingway took the external details of the story and presented them from the point of view of the fisherman. He thus made it possible for the reader to participate imaginatively in the story. That effect was always Hemingway's primary aim as a writer.

The story's spiritual themes enhance its meaning and impact. In the thoughts of Santiago, the reader shares the beliefs of a simple fisherman whose pride in his endurance is combined with the fatalistic sense that he has "gone out too far," and whose efforts to kill his prey are combined with a reverence for life. It is impossible to read this story without believing that in many respects it represents Hemingway's own ideals of manhood.

For a time, it was his plan to publish the tale as part of a collection, but he accepted an unusual offer to have it appear in a single installment in Life magazine. Its appearance in book form followed shortly.

The Old Man and the Sea was an immediate success throughout the world. It was specifically cited when the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Hemingway in 1954. In fact, its success was so great that it lead to a broad revival of interest in all of Hemingway's works which has continued to the present day. It is a curious fact of literary history that a story which describes the loss of a gigantic prize provided the author with the greatest prize of his career.

-- Charles Scribner Jr.

Copyright © 1952 by Ernest Hemingway
Copyright renewed © 1980 by Mary Hemingway

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Reading Group Guide

1. What is suggested when Manolin says to Santiago that his father "hasn't much faith" (p. 10) but that he, himself, "would like to serve in some way" (p. 12)? Does this offer of Manolin's asking to throw the "cast net" (p. 16) echo the Bible and underscore the boy's respect for Santiago? Why is Santiago so worthy of Manolin's respect?

2. Why is the boy so important to Santiago? Despite his bad luck, Santiago's hope and confidence remain, even "freshening as when the breeze rises" (p. 13) as the boy helps him prepare for his next fishing trip. What does this statement indicate about the role Manolin plays in Santiago's life? Could "the boy" be regarded as a metaphor? How?

3. Like other Hemingway characters, Santiago is very much alone, "beyond all people in the world" (p. 50); yet he says, "No man was ever alone on the sea" (p. 61). Why? Does he feel joined with the creatures and universe or strengthened and sustained by them in any way? Do his dreams of the lions or reflections about his earlier strength support him?

4. Although determined to kill the fish, Santiago says that he loves and respects it, and on the third day of his struggle he says, "Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who" (p. 92). Is Santiago ennobled by his fight? Does it define his character?

5. How does the story of Santiago confirm the presence of two themes prevalent in Hemingway's fiction: "the undefeated" and "winner take nothing"? Santiago says, "A man can be destroyed but not defeated." Do you agree? Can the novella be read as an allegory, a story with levels of meanings? Is it merelySantiago's story, or our story also?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 535 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 535 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2008

    The Old Man and the Sea

    The Old Man and the Sea<BR/><BR/>The old man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway, a story just over 100 pages in length is about an experienced Cuban fisherman in the Gulf and the giant Marlin he kills and loses. The fisherman, named Santiago, has gone over 2 months without catching any fish at all. On his 85th day at sea, his bait attracts a very large fish, which he believes to be a Marlin. He tries to reel the fish in but instead the fish drags his boat around and for two days the man struggles to keep his catch. On the third day, the Marlin finally stops dragging the boat and the old fisherman kills him. Santiago straps the fish to his boat and heads home. The trip home is not what Santiago desired and neither is the outcome but the way the story is told the ending is one that is not all bad. <BR/><BR/>I e njoyed this story very much and it took me a very short time to finish, not because of the length, but also because of the content. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a good read that does not drag itself out whatsoever. This short novel is fierce, full of vibrant energy and humanity, all the while being a slave to the realities of finite power, of the inability to struggle against something greater than you. Of course, this is the standard "man against nature" story, but it is told so well that it rings true. This story won Hemingway the Nobel Prize and there is no doubt as to why. The simplicity of the story mixed with the complexity of the character development and the symbolism that is shown, defines what is necessary to create a successful work.

    17 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Highly Recommend

    Written in such detail, you can see every moment play out beautifully. I felt like I was sitting right there with the old man during his struggle. Very emotional connection to the character.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hemingway at his best - a fine edition of an essential novella

    It is fitting that this was the last book published by Hemingway in his lifetime: while he was still in his early fifties when wrote and published the novella to great success, the book works perfectly as the final work of a great writer and man, with reflections on life and the dignity of man at the twilight of his life. The prose is as precise and engaging as you can expect from Hemingway, in my opinion the great master of prose in the 20th century. This novella might be the perfect introduction to Hemingway to a novice reader of literature and I plan to read the story to my kids. I think it is beautiful, moving and is a great tale of perseverance, courage and humility in the figure of the heroic fisherman Santiago. The beautiful frienship between the old man and the boy is also touching as an example of gratitude and brotherly love.

    In short, you find the best of the human spirit in full display on this book - in most of his other books, Hemingway dwelled (with brilliance) on much darker sides of life (and death) but this one is a celebration of the best in all of us. The depiction of the natural world is breathtaking in its precision and energy and we know that Hemingway truly knew and loved the Gulf Stream and its creatures, big and small.

    Much has been said about this book and I would like to comment on the specific edition: it has quite a few drawings illustrating the characters (including the awesome big fish!)and action on the book and it is a nice touch. For this, I highly recommend this edition of this short but rewarding masterpiece of a book.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2011


    Stop writing such long reveiws people! I dont think u know but nobody reads them because their so long and pointless...short and simple proves a point a lot of the time! Jeez!

    5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2009


    this book was atually sort of good it taught me the facts of life and what its like to be a cuban dude tryin to get a big fish for DEENER

    5 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Good read

    If you are looking for a good book this may be the book for you. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway has only 95 pages with pictures, so if you don't like it you only wasted about 45 minutes of your time. To me it was alright there could of been places where it could have been more exciting, but that might just be me. But overall the book was pretty good.
    If you love fishing like I do you will probably will enjoy this book because it was written by a fisherman. So there are a lot of feelings that fishermen feel when they go fishing, and that gives the book a little something. So here is an example, "He is two feet longer than the skiff," the old man said. The line was going out fast but steadily ant he fish was not panicked. The old man was trying with both hands to keep the line just inside of breaking strength. He knew that if he could not slow the fish with a steady pressure the fish could take out all the line and break it." If you are a fisherman you know that feeling, the feeling of knowing you caught a monster fish, the line is peeling out, and you try to keep tension just right. But if you are not the fishing type this book is pretty interesting to read.

    At points the book does get boring and you may not enjoy the ending. I personally did get bored at a few points in the book, but then the boring parts made the action parts seem much better. I can't tell you the ending, but i thought it was a little let down, but i will let you decide whether you like it or not.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Holy Moly Crap.

    I had to read this book for a school assignment. At first, I was excited because from all reports it looked like a really good read. And it would have been, after all, Hemingway has great style and originality. However, all the fanfare led to dissapointment to me when he catches this giant marlin, tows it in despite the feasting sharks, and arrives on the docks with a skeleton, only to resume his dreary life. The ending was disgusting. And I've never been this disgusted with a classic, a genre that usually brings me joy.

    3 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Great Story!

    By far Ernest Hemingway's best story ever written.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    Easy and Fantastic

    The Old Man and the Sea is a great example of American literature at its height. It is a quick and easy read -- only about 130 pages. Hemingway's writing style allows the story to flow throughout the pages without any chapter interruptions. This book is great to read at any time. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Hemingway or 20th century American literature.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012


    This book was total crap. It was boring and sounded like something died. Don not recommend

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2012

    I did not like this book at all. It was a pointless story about

    I did not like this book at all. It was a pointless story about nothing.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    A Fun Introduction to Hemingway

    If you enjoy a good read with simple style, then pick up this book. It makes you think about what kinds of things are worth fighting for and what kinds of things mean the most to us.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2008

    good easy book to read

    Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea while he was in Cuba in 1951. In this book the main character is an old man named Santiago who lives in a small fishing village near Havana, Cuba. It is set in the late 1940¿s. The old man is a fisherman, but he does not catch very many fish. In the beginning of the book the old man is in an eighty four day streak of not catching any fish. He goes so long with no fish that the parents of his assistant, Manolin, decide that their son needs to be on a different boat even though the boy likes the old man better than he likes the other fishermen. The boy still helps the old man while he is in port but he goes out to sea by himself. One day the old man tells the boy that he will go far out into to ocean in hopes of catching a gigantic fish. After a few hours with little luck the old man hooks the biggest marlin he has ever seen and starts a three day fight with him. After he gets the fish close enough to the boat he harpoons it. The fish is so big that it will not fit inside the boat, so he ties it to the outside of the boat and sets sail for town. <BR/> I believe with this is over all a good book. This book has a really simple plot. The book would have been better if there were more people on the boat while he was fishing. With more people it is more entertaining because there are more things going on. But if there were a more complicated plot then the book probably would have been longer. One of the reasons I liked this book was that it is so short and it is about fishing which is more interesting than some other things you can write a book about. Ernest Hemingway is a good writer and can write a well put together book I think that he worked hard writing this book and it is nicely done. This book is easy to read, well written and generally good. The only down side is the simplicity of the plot, but this adds to the easiness of reading the book this book¿s plot made is a very fast easy book to read and can be read by anyone. I think anyone who likes fishing would enjoy this book. This book unlike some other novels is easy to read. I think that almost anyone could read this book. I also think everyone should read this book to get a sample of Hemingway¿s writing style without having to read a long hard novel. I would assume this book is more appealing to someone who needs to read a book than a long novel with sentences that cover half a page. In conclusion, this is a good book and everyone should read it.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    After Reading "The Old Man and the Sea"

    The Old Man and the Sea, the novella by Ernest Hemingway, tells a simple yet moving tale of an old fisherman named Santiago. A small village on the northern coast of Cuba is the main setting of the story where Santiago, the protagonist, faces humiliation for not being able to catch any fish for eighty-four days. Although he is aged and seemingly out of luck, Santiago believes in his own ability to turn his luck around and sails deeper into the gulf ocean on eighty-fifth day. There, he catches a huge marlin and fights to the best of his ability with the fish for three straight days; after enduring days of exhaustion and injuries, Santiago triumphs against his ¿worthy enemy.¿ The marlin was too big to load on his boat, so Santiago had to drag it in water all the way back. By the time he returned to the harbor, there were only bones of the marlin left because of continuous shark attacks along the way. Even though people in town could not recognize what it was, Santiago is content and dreams of better days to come. <BR/> Santiago is an inspiring character who personifies self-respect, courage and perseverance. Despite the townspeople¿s mockery and unfavorable circumstances, he has a strong pride and faith in himself that no hardship can defeat him. Joe DiMaggio, Santiago¿s personal hero, is a symbol of the unconquerable spirit Santiago possesses deep inside. Using the omniscient point of view, Hemingway also shows how Santiago repeatedly dreams of lions in Africa. Just as Santiago sails further into the ocean after having the same dream, the lions in his dream symbolize youth, power and hope for tomorrow. Santiago¿s struggle against the marlin in the sea is the climax of this story because his courage and perseverance enable him to achieve victory against all odds. <BR/> The novel had relatively a simple plot. However, it teaches several important lessons. The main theme of the story is that one should not give up his/her hope under any circumstances. The author, Earnest Hemingway, emphasized the importance of bravery and faith throughout the story. No matter how much one¿s life seems tragic, one should always live with belief and faith in oneself. It gives a strong inspiration to the readers how Santiago achieves victory against the nature by himself without any possessions and supports from outside.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013



    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Old Man and the Sea

    Don't get me wrong, Ernest Hemingway is a superb writer... but I did find this book more dragged out than I would have liked. It was one of my father's favorites when he was a kid, so I thought it would be interesting enough, but I suppose I was bored on account of my dislike of fishing.

    The first part of The Old Man and the Sea wasn't very intriguing, I must say. The main character's life just seems so bleak that the book didn't reel me in like I hoped it would. And the ending, where the sharks eat the marlin and the main character returns home with only a skeleton... I just about cried, I was so unsatisfied. No, I didn't expect it to be a happy ending, but what I did think was that there would be some lesson learned. The whole story line was the main character spent days until a sacrifice (the killing of the marlin) was made, only to have his prize devoured by sharks! He should have cut the line of the fishing pole in the first place! He should have let the marlin roam free in the ocean, to let the great fish live a life of as much peace as possible!

    It may be just me, but I found this book perplexing... and I still don't understand the point of the story at all. I don't encourage you to read it unless you are a fan of Hemingway, enjoy fishing, and/or understand the morale of the story. Anyhow, I rated The Old Man and the Sea 2 stars instead of 1 because of E. Hemingway's magnificent writing abilities... and did not base it on the plot I will never be fond of.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Love this book

    I love reading just about everything, but especially the classics. I enjoy everything from Shakespeare to Tolstoy to Asimov. However this is the ONLY book I've reread. Over the past 25 years I've probably read this book 15 times.

    This book is the epitome of Hemingway's "less is more" style. I love the depth achieved with so few words. I'll be reading this one over and over for the rest of my life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Awesome book!

    Best book i ever read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2012

    Classic the characters were so real!

    Ernest Hemingway tells an amazing story. It contains really vivid characters. You can almost see, hear, smell and feel them. I loved this book. I only gave it 4 stars because it was a little short. When I finished it, I really wanted to be longer at the start, middle and the end.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Main points:

    ? old man talks to boy ? old man lives old life ? old man goes out to sea alone ? old man pulled out to sea for ?4+ days by big fish ? old man eats small fish ? old man talks to hand ? old man talks to fish ? old man talk to himself ? old man kills fish ? old man talks to hand again ? old man battles 1 shark ? old man battles 2 sharks ? old man battles many sharks ? no fish left; just bones ? old man falls asleep CONGRATS!! You just finnished all 95 pages of The Old Man And The Sea! It was an ok book. Really short and kinda boring. The only three people: boy, old man, and the merlin. If you just need to read a book for school or something, this would be great. Other than that, it's allright.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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