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The Old Man and the Sea - A Short Critique

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Just a short analyzation and critique of the old man and the sea.
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  Monique Diana I. FandaganiMay 12, 2014OLD MAN AND THE SEAI. SUMMARYSantiago, the old man has been fishing for 87 days without catching anything. Hisprevious apprentice, Manolin, still cares for him and wanted to go fishing with again. Theboy’s parents forbade him because they thought that the old man is unlucky. The nextday, the old man goes alone to the sea and catches a big fish he thought was a marlin. Ittook him three days struggling to spear the fish and successfully catch it. When he isreturning to the shore, sharks appeared lured by the blood of the fish. Even though the oldman was beating and killing the sharks, there were too many. Some still evaded him andtook bites at the fish he caught. Only the head and the skeleton of the fish were left.Feeling defeated the old man did not want to look at the fish and continued back towardsthe shore. The boy found him in his shack and after conversing the boy left again. Latersome tourist had mistakenly thought the carcass of the marlin was a shark. The old manslept in his shack dreaming once again of the lions.II. ANALYZATIONA. ArtistryHemmingway executes the novel through straightforward narrationsometimes to the point of unflinchingly plain descriptions. The story however is riddledand layered with undercurrents of symbolisms and metaphors. The description of the seaand fishing was illustrative of how the author can construct the scenery using a characterand a few choice words. There were no flamboyant phrasing nor was there anypretentious words. The simplicity of the peace is its elegance. However, it should not beoverlooked that the story is not plain but rife with morals and analogies. The strength of the piece is in the interpretation of these symbolisms that may be subjective yet equallyimportant to each and every reader.B. UniversalityThe story speaks of fishing but alludes to life, death and religion. Though themain theme is fishing, which in this story is narrated with beautiful details thatparticularity may result in reading unfamiliar phrases disappointingly. The author couldhave explained the process and equipment mentioned, granted it would depart from thepurpose and feel of the novel. C. Intellectual ValueThe uncomplicated plot is satisfying and easy to understand. However therewere moments where the story would take in an unexpected twist. There may bequestions to the authenticity of the scenes where the old man was stuck in the middle of the ocean. If you were an old man would you have successfully maintained your hold onthe line of a fish you caught which is apparently bigger than your own boat? I would say  that the rendition of the scenes where satisfying and reasonable enough for the readers.D. Emotional ValueThe scene that affected me the most is the one in the end where the boy wassaying that from now on he wants to fish with the old man together. It can be noticed thatin the beginning the old man was too proud and lied frequently to the boy to cover thingsthat may be considered a weakness. In the last scene we can see how different the oldman is, how he humbled that he can’t even cover it up with comforting lies for his youngapprentice. At first, he knew that people were calling him unlucky but he never evenconsidered himself as one but after he felt defeated enough to admit out loud that he wasunlucky. The boy was also shown crying when he saw the old man sleeping however heshowed no signs of it when he was talking to the old man. It could have been to show theold man that he’s an adult. It was the old man who was openly showing affection now bysaying he missed the boy. This is my favorite quote from the boy, “The hell with luck. I’llbring the luck with me.” Even though the old man was doubtful because of the boy’sfamily, the boy tried another tactic and said that he needs to fish together with the oldman for he still have much to learn. This seemed to uplift the old man’s ego a bit andwhen he was making plans the boy knew he was persuaded. I feel like the boy was givingthe old man something to live for once again. It’s interesting and inspiring to see a boy beso concerned and devoted to the old man. That conversation in the end was emotionallydraining because you can feel the suffering of the old man and the sympathy of the boy.E. Spiritual ValueThe story begins with the reader both questioning and admiring the old man’sendurance, pride and faith for continuing to fish without catching anything for 87 days.There is a sense of raw truth that the story captured, possibly one of the reason it seemsunappealing to those who seek to escape or find something more fantastical with one’slife. However, the old man’s grueling struggle from the start to finish is a lesson of perseverance. One may also assume that fishing is a metaphor for religion, the old man asymbol of God while the fish represents humans. Ending the story, one may take from thestory to be careful or to be a risk-taker. To live carefully one must not allow the so-called‘sharks’ eat away at our achievements. To live while taking risks, a person must be ableto sacrifice anything and go out to the ‘sea’ to be able to catch something. It is importantto be both, a life with careful risk-taking and calculated loss. It also helps to prepareproperly or to swallow one’s pride and ask for help even to a mere ‘boy’.III. PERSONAL VIEWI found the old man too prideful at the beginning but I understood him in the end.That pride is the only thing that keeps him moving on and living his life. He has no wifenow, no children of his own. He only has his pride, his boat, his memories and the boy. Ifind myself cheering for the old man during his struggles with catching the fish. Therespect the old man gave to the fish was the same I gave to him for his admirableendurance. The old man reminded me of humanity and how we all hold on to bittersweet  memories or to a nostalgic past, how even though we are experiencing misfortune we stilllatch on stubbornly to hope and how we deal with failures and yet gather the strength tocontinue living.

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