Book Reviews

“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway: A Story of Hope

A beautiful tale written with such charming simplicity, Ernest Hemingway’s classic tells an inspiring message: in this highly unpredictable world, hope is what sustains us through our ups and downs, and from the day we’re born until our last breath.

A multi-layered story

On the surface, “The Old Man and the Sea” is a simple story. But if you look at it deeper, you will find a lot of layers. First, it tackles what life was like during the old times when humans thrive on their own without help from others. On the second layer is a story of a man and a fish. It is also a tale of man versus nature. And ultimately, it showcases courage amid the most difficult and seemingly hopeless circumstances.

Celebrating grit and resilience

The most striking element in Hemingway’s world-renowned short novel is the theme of courage as seen from Santiago, an elderly fisherman who battles it out to the sea, struggling to catch a decent fish. This idea of humans being brave in the face of uncertainties and trials is what Hemingway successfully portrays through his protagonist. I could not help admiring the characterization that Hemingway created in his novel.

Relatable characters

However, the lead character turns out to be not alone. There is this young boy whom he has forged a working relationship and a good friendship with since the kid was only five. The boy has moved on to another boat. Even if Santiago has the courage to face the challenges in the sea by himself, there is a point when he wishes that the young boy were by his side. I am deeply moved by such longing for the company of a long-lost friend.

Concise writing style

Hemingway is known for his economy of words, and this power of concise writing draws the reader into what is happening in the story. Despite the simple writing style, Hemingway effectively drives home the important message: that inner strength makes a man, or rather a fisherman, the toughest being in a territory that is unforgiving like the waters.