Monday, June 20, 2011

Old Man and the Sea- Question 3

I think Ernest Hemingway understands a good deal about human nature. One big thing in particular is that people need some sort of companion. Another is that people often have respect for able opponents. What stuck out at me most thought was his understanding that people need heroes.

The old man talks to himself a good deal while he is fishing. He thinks it started when the boy, his fishing companion, had to stop fishing with him (Hemingway 23). He talks to his hands, a bird, a jelly fish, and the fish he is catching. He misses having the boy with him, so he makes companions out of the things around him. It may be a little strange, but no one like being all by themselves, and an unresponsive companion is better than no companion at all.

The old man has great respect for the fish he is catching. He even refers to it as his brother, and that implys that he loves the fish (Hemingway 45). However, when he sees a Portugese man-o-war he calls it a "whore" (Hemingway 22). The difference between the two is that the fish fights with its strength and the man-o-war uses treacherous stingers. So the old man respects the fish and its ability and hates the men-o-war.

What I really caught was that Hemingway gave the old man a hero to look up to. Once when the old man gets tired and lets his mind wander he thinks of "the great Dimaggio" and wonders how he would do fishing (Hemingway 35). He tries very had because he wants to be as much like his hero as possible, and work through whatever pain he has (Hemingway 35). Everyone needs a hero, and even if it is not a driving force in a person's life to be like their hero, people still work harder and aspire to higher things because of their heroes.

These details in the old man's character make him seem very real. It is because of them that, while reading the story, I was half wondering whether or not the story was true.

Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Scribner, 2003. Print.

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