By the time Ernest Hemingway began to write his fish tale, he had gone through four wives and was failing in health. He had decided to move his last and soon to be fifth wife, Mary Welsh, to Cuba with him and wanted to write his masterpiece. There were moments when he could not use his typewriter or remember where he was in his novel he was in such poor health. He and Mary both drank heavily and were defined as alcoholics. There were days when little writing was accomplished due to the drinking.
As in the past, Hemingway would write in the morning. His story was based on a Cuban fisherman he knew called Gregorio Fuentes. After writing a few hours, Hemingway might swim or fish. His glorious Cuban estate was situated at the edge of the ocean and provided him a pool and beach of his won. Some days he would head out on his boat The Pilar to fish as he had done his entire life. He was an avid fisherman.
The tale Old Man and the Sea speaks of Santiago and the boy. The boy Manolin serves as an assistant to the old fisherman. He loves him and hates that he can no longer fish with Santiago due to his bad luck. Santiago has run out of luck and needs his great big catch. He is similar to Hemingway and his need for a successful book. The novel is written in Hemingway’s straightforward and simple newspaper style.
The marlins, sharks, fisherman, lions, and days on the water are all symbols in life. While it seems as all kinds of bad luck has hit the old man, he does hook the best fish ever. It is in the bringing in of the fish that Santiago faces nature and her cruel nature. Scavengers slowly pick the fish apart and the man is punished for going to far out into the Gulf Stream.
The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1953. It is taught in almost every school across the world and is considered a classic novel. The movie by the same name also won many awards such as the Academy award. This simple tae, about a simple man, written in a simple style was something that many people, most of all Ernest Hemingway could relate to in life.
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