When first glancing through Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and The Sea”, the
significantly small size of the novel is automatically noticeable. “This is an
internationally renowned classic novel?” was the first thought that came to my mind.
However, the famous saying of “never judge a book by its cover” (quite literally in this
case), proved itself once again. To my surprise, this novel was probably one of the most
profoundly deep novels in terms of theme and “reading between the lines”. Hemingway
connects with his audience and to an even greater extent, the world, with universal
themes that humankind endures or has endured in a lifetime, such as the relationship
between man and nature, isolation and friendship. Hemingway’s elaboration of these
themes is why this novel is a classic.
Throughout the history of mankind, man has been defeated by nature, however man
has defeated nature as well. Santiago appreciates nature, but at times the natural
surroundings of Santiago do not give the same appreciation to Santiago. “He always
thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her”
pg. 27 (Hemingway). In Spanish, the word “mar” is sea, which takes the masculine article
of “el”, meaning the word is masculine. However, Santiago refers to the sea as a feminine
word by using the feminine article of “la”. Therefore Santiago’s passion for the sea is
equivalent to his passion for women. “All my life the early sun has hurt my eyes, he
thought. Yet they are still good. In the evening I can look straight into it without getting
the blackness. It has more force in the evening too. But in the morning it is painful” pg.
30 (Hemingway). Santiago admits nature’s defeat over him by the physical damages it
causes. The 1950’s in Cuba (setting of novel), was a crucial political time for the Cuban
Government. The political theory of communism has grasped the...