I think that people still read this book because the story is sort of inspiring. Other than that, I think there is an important message or two in the story, and that the respect the reader has for the old man by the end of book has helped it become so timeless.
When reading a story about an old man, all alone, struggling to catch an amazing fish, a person can not help feeling like they could make more out of what they are doing as well. As an English student just beginning a very long series of blogs, it sort of picks me up to think about the old man and his refusal to let his pain get the better of him. In comparison, English blogs do not seem very difficult at all. If that poor old man could get through catching his fish, and even get past loosing it to the sharks, then I can do this. Well, six posts in, and I am still optomistic anyway.
One of the important messages I found was that a love for nature can sometimes make things easier than they would otherwise be. For instance, if the old man saw the fish as an enemy and hated it, he probably would have had a miserable couple days trying to catch the fish. Instead, he loves the fish and forms a deep respect for it (Hemingway 30). So instead of becoming a fight between the two, it becomes a contest. Anger and hatred are not very pleasant emotions, so I would say hs love for the sea made fishing far more enjoyable for him.
It is very rare for me to read a book and respect the charaters in it. Most of the time I have trouble seeing anything realistic about them. In Old Man and the Sea, this is not the case. Hemingway creates a character that is strong and determined despite his old age. I love meeting people with these qualities, so it makes sense that I would love reading about them too. Considering that the book has become so classic, I doubt that I am the only one.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Scribner, 2003. Print.