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The Old Man and the Sea


The Old Man and the Sea Cover

ISBN13: 9780684801223
ISBN10: 0684801221
Condition: Standard
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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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SenorFido, September 21, 2014 (view all comments by SenorFido)
I read sthis book when I was a teenager and I cannot believe it was banned. As much as I can remember, there was no sex in it and the violence was mostly about the shark(?). I must admit at times it was slow going (like most of Hemingway's works) but nonetheless enjoyable.
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The Black Eel, April 1, 2014 (view all comments by The Black Eel)
It was not difficult for me to see why The Old Man and the Sea is one of Ernest Hemingway’s most celebrated works. The story combines themes of courage, perseverance, and friendship into a relatively short story. At the same time, it poses many questions dealing with the human experience and teaches readers memorable life lessons. The Old Man and the Sea is much more than a simple tale of a fisherman; it is the story of a man who discovers what really matters in life.

It is hard not to be impressed with the manliness of Ernest Hemingway. Not only was he an author, but he also spent much of his time fighting in the war, big game hunting, deep sea fishing, and drinking profusely. He carried his experiences with him to create several famous pieces of literature, including The Old Man and the Sea. Santiago, the protagonist, is based off of Hemingway’s real life fishing buddy. Hemingway uses very simple language to ensure that readers understand the basic plot of the story. However, the story also poses many questions about the human experience that left me thinking for hours.

For eighty four straight days, an old man by the name of Santiago has gone out fishing but returned to land with nothing to show for it. His fellow fishermen who had once respected him now see him as aged and unlucky. Even Mandolin, a young boy who cares for the old man everyday, is told to stop wasting his time onboard Santiago’s boat. However, the friendship between the old man and the young boy never dwindles. After the old man returns from sea each day, the young boy makes sure the old man has everything he needs. Finally, on the eighty-fifth day at sea, the old man gets what he desires most. A massive marlin takes his bait. The old man is pleased at feeling the weight of the monster on his line, but he can’t help but wish that his best friend was there with him. For the next five grueling days, the old man dedicates himself to an intense battle with the majestic fish until one of them finally gives out.

The efficiency of The Old Man and the Sea is one of the main reasons I found the story to be so remarkable. One of the first ideas it discusses deals with the complex relationship between the hunter and the hunted. The old man constantly sways between feeling sorry for the great fish and then feeling a need to capture it and make it his prize. On one hand, Santiago understands the majesty of the 18-foot long, 1500 pound marlin, so he feels that is not meant to be killed by man. On the other hand he feels as though he must prove himself as a great fisherman in order to regain his sense of accomplishment and youth. Throughout his time on the water, the old man talks to himself to avoid silence. “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 more?” (105). This poses an important question about hunting and fishing in general. Is it right for humans to kill animals purely for sport?

Hemingway also shows that, in life, the journey is more important than the destination. Although things don’t turn out as planned for the old man, he eventually realizes that the purpose of his struggle was to prove to himself that he was still a tremendous fisherman. His struggle with the marlin proved that the old man was capable of enduring through pain and suffering in order to reach his goals. His battle with the marlin brings him back to his younger days when he was full of energy. In fact, the idea of youth is a recurring theme. “He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the lions on the beach. They played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them as he loved the boy” (25). Indeed, the old man doesn’t truly seek the physical prize of having a trophy fish. Instead he craves to live an adventure as he did when he was a young boy. This explains his deep connection with Mandolin and shows why the old man was so relentless in pursuing the great marlin. His mind is still youthful although his body is aging quickly.

As a reader with no previous experience with the work of Ernest Hemingway, I was very pleased with The Old Man and the Sea. It was a quick read, but certainly a good one. Hemingway accomplishes his goal of telling a tale of adventure while incorporating complex ideas despite using very simple language. Especially as a person who loves the outdoors, I was able to appreciate the pride that Santiago takes in fishing. I couldn’t help but imagine myself onboard the boat with Santiago as he fought the great marlin. The language that was used is simple and easy to understand, yet the lessons and values that can be taken away make The Old Man and the Sea very memorable.
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mary.raglin, October 8, 2008 (view all comments by mary.raglin)
Love Hemmingway! This read shows the struggle and the victory no matter how small. It makes one humble to know what this soul went though and how it changed how others thought.
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Product Details

performance Narrated:
Frank Muller.
Scribner Book Company
Hemingway, Ernest
New York
Novels and novellas
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Sea & Ocean
Aged men
Sea stories
Male friendship
Talking books.
Cuba Fiction.
General Fiction
General Fiction
Older men
Literature-A to Z
Literary fiction; Classics; American classic; American literature; The Lost Generation; great American novel; award winner; Pulitzer Prize; bestseller; modernism; American modernism; F. Scott Fitzgerald; Gertrude Stein; William Faulkner; John Dos Passos;
Literary fiction; Classics; American classic; American literature; The Lost Generation; great American novel; award winner; Pulitzer Prize; bestseller; modernism; American modernism; F. Scott Fitzgerald; Gertrude Stein; William Faulkner; John Dos Passos;
Literary fiction; Classics; American classic; American literature; The Lost Generation; great American novel; award winner; Pulitzer Prize; bestseller; modernism; American modernism; F. Scott Fitzgerald; Gertrude Stein; William Faulkner; John Dos Passos;
Literary fiction; Classics; American classic; American literature; The Lost Generation; great American novel; award winner; Pulitzer Prize; bestseller; modernism; American modernism; F. Scott Fitzgerald; Gertrude Stein; William Faulkner; John Dos Passos;
Literary fiction; Classics; American classic; American literature; The Lost Generation; great American novel; award winner; Pulitzer Prize; bestseller; modernism; American modernism; F. Scott Fitzgerald; Gertrude Stein; William Faulkner; John Dos Passos;
Edition Description:
ESL ReadAlong
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
May 1995
Grade Level:
8 x 5.25 in 3.745 oz

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The Old Man and the Sea Used Trade Paper
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Product details 128 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780684801223 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Despite a long and varied literate life, I somehow made it to 2010 without having ever read Hemingway, even compulsory high-school Hemingway. Intimidated by his bravado and bullfighting, I steered clear of ol' Papa. It only hit me a few months ago, after reading The Old Man and the Sea for the first time, to resounding effect, that I'd been seriously missing out. The Old Man and the Sea now numbers among one of my all-time favorites. Simply told, and with graceful humility, this novella is as immense and riveting a force as the great marlin Santiago must face. Looking out at the ocean on a clear day, you can look at the sea and just see blue water and waves, rolling up or rolling down — a lovely story in itself — or you can see, blinking from the horizon, the largeness of the world reflected back at you in a boat the size of a dime. I am exceedingly grateful to the fates that Hemingway had "luck" enough to see both.

"The luck was that I had a good man and a good boy and lately writers have forgotten there still are such things. Then the ocean is worth writing about just as man is. So I was lucky there." —Ernest Hemingway, in a Paris Review interview

"Synopsis" by , Hemingway's triumphant yet tragic story of an old Cuban fisherman and his relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream combines the simplicity of a fable, the significance of a parable, and the drama of an epic.
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