Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Old Man and the Sea- The Fish

It seems a bit strange to me that the fish plays such a huge part in the story, yet I had not really thought of it as a character. I am not truly sure whether it can be called a character, being a fish, but I am going to do my best to describe it as such.

For the fish to be a character, it would need to have both physical and emotional characteristics. I think the physical characteristics are the easier of the two. The fish is amazingly big and strong. He is eighteen feet long (Hemingway 58). He has a long and pointed sword at the end of his face and a really big tail as well. The old man thinks he is beautiful (Hemingway 45), and although I can not imagine a beautiful fish, I suppose I have not seen very many.

The fish may not have truly had an emotional character, but because the old man thinks of him as having one, he might as well. The fish is calm and noble in the old man's mind (Hemingway 45). The old man thinks of the fish as a worthy rival because of this. Because the fish pulls the old man for so long so steadily, he feels like the fish is "so fearles and so confident" (Hemingway 42). Because the old man thinks of the fish as having such a character, he feels very sad when the sharks eat him. The old man even apologizes to the half eaten fish for going out too far to catch it (Hemingway 55). He respects both the fish's physical qualities and the emotional qualities he thinks of it as having.

I am not sure if a fish can really have these traits, but this is a work of fiction. In stories like these, characters are exagerated to get a point across to the reader. In this case, the fish was given a character because the old man respected it enough to give it one. The author wanted to relate the old man's respect for the fish, and so he did.

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

Old Man and the Sea- The Boy

Despite the boy not being in the story too much, I think he plays an important role in it. The boy helps give the old man hope, both at the beginning of the story and at the end. If it was not for the boy, why would the old man have gone through what he did? I think that the boy motivates the old man with his confidence, and the old man thinks of that and picks himself up.

The first example of this is before the old man even hooks his huge fish. Before the old man and the boy start talking, the tone is very gloomy and depressing. When the old man and the boy get to talking, the tone starts to get brighter. It even says "His hope and his confidence had never gone. But now they were freshening as when the breeze rises." (Hemingway 13). The boy and his optomism make the old man more optomistic as well, and so the old man is hopeful when he goes out fishing the next morning (Hemingway 18).

Another example is when the fish is jumping and the line is cutting the old man's hands. The old man thinks that if the boy were with him he would help, and after that thinks of how good it was that the fish jumped and that his hands were not really so bad (Hemingway 42). I do not think it is just a coincidence that the old man is more optomistic after thinking about the boy. I think that thinking about the boy made the change in attitude.

My last example is after the old man gets back home. The first thing the old man says is "they beat me," but by the end of the book, the old man is making plans to go fishing again (Hemingway 58-59). The boy's confidence in the old man helps give the old man more confidence in himself. Because of this, the old man is able to keep going and endure what he must even when things go badly.

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

Old Man and the Sea- The Fish as a Symbol

When I was reading the book, I really did not notice any symbols. Luckly, after writing about the book for a couple days I noticed that the fish could very well be a symbol for the conflict and struggle the old man goes through.

First, the fish lurches, and the line cuts the old man's hand (Hemingway 30). This makes the old man's job harder and more painful than it already was. I think that the fish is being used to escalate the conflict and make it more challenging for the old man.

While the old man has been trying to uncramp his left hand for quite a while, the fish jumps out of the water (Hemingway 33). This is the first time the old man's body is starting to show some weariness, and also the first time the old man sees the fish. I think the fish is being used as a symbol for the challenge the old man is having because the first time it is seen is while the old man is really struggling to get his hand working again.

When the fish finally decides to start jumping, the line is pulled from the old man's hands so fast that both of them are cut open (Hemingway 41). Now the left had is cut as well as the right, and the right has been hurt twice. I think that here again the fish is making the conflict more intense.

Epecially when the fish is circling it is apparent that it is a symbol. After every time the fish goes around the old man has to fight harder and harder to keep himself from failing (Hemingway 46). He starts out doing quite well, but after many passes it becomes a true struggle to keep working on the fish. Because of this, I think the fish is being used as a symbol here.

At the end, the fish is merely a pile of bones, left on the beach as trash (Hemingway 59). I think that this symbolizes the old man letting go of his struggle and moving on.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Old Man and the Sea- Conclusion

At first the end of this book really frustraited me. After all the old man spent a couple days trying to catch this huge fish, and in the midst of his triumph, a few sharks eat it (Hemingway 56). What kind of ending is that? I guess it was used to point out some important themes, most of which I am still trying to decide on.

I think that the most important thing that the ending was pointing out was the old man's endurance. He spends the entire time he is fishing enduring pain and a lack of sleep, and so at the end he eduures the loss of his fish. Even though he has lost the fish, he decides to go fishing again with the boy after his hands get better (Hemingway 59). If the old man had given up after the sharks ate his fish, it would not be much of a story or have much meaning. Because the old man does not give up, the story is worth reading.

It is not as though nothing good happens at the end though. The other fishermen have to respect the old man after they see the fish's bones next to his boat (Hemingway 58). How could they not, after the old man caught it all by himself? More importantly, the boy decides to go fishing the old man again (Hemingway 59). The old man really missed the boy while he was fishing, so it is a good thing they will be fishing together when the old man gets well again.

I am a big believer in happy endings, so you can see why this ending upset me a bit at first. It takes a closer look and a bit of optomism to see it, but I have decided that the end is still fairly happy. Besides, what good is a story if it has absolutely no morals or themes? The old man endured physical pain fishing, and the worst kind of dissapointment when the sharks ate his fish, but he never gave up.

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

Old Man and the Sea- Style

One of the things I really liked about this book is the style the author uses. I would describe it is sort of wandering around from idea to idea while the old man is fishing, Even before he goes out fishing it seems like the old man's thoughts are always moving from one thing to another. All of the changes it train of thought helped to make the book so interesting.

When the old man is talking to the boy after their dinner the conversation changes direction quite a bit and very often. They go from talking about baseball, to baseball players, to Africa, and then back to baseball players (Hemingway 16). These changes in the conversation are in the same style as the old man's thoughts. They change a little bit on one subject, then jump to a different subject that has little to do with the first. My examle of this is when the old man is thinking of Portugese men-o-war. He starts off thinking of how horrible they are and how much he dislikes them, to how he loves turtles (Hemingway 22). The thought about turtles is still relevant because the old man was thinking of how he loved to see the turtles eating the men-o-war, but still does not have much to do with the origional topic. Because of this the story is more interesting to me when the old man is thinking than when he is fishing.

The other example of how the style keeps the story moving is how the old man's thoughts are put in between updates of what he is doing while fishing. For instance, after four hours of being pulled by the fish, he starts to get uncomfortable. After this is mentioned, the old man starts to think about how big the fish must be. The book talks about what the old man did that night, and then the old man thinks about his situation (Hemingway 26-27). This keeps the story from being a monotonous series of actions and descriptions. When the old man is trying to pull the fish in, the events are mentioned followed by the old mans thoughts (Hmingway 43-45). All of the wandering and changing in the narration makes the book much more interesting.

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

Old Man and the Sea- Old Man Character Discription

When I think about it, the old man sort of reminds me of my room. I know that sounds pretty strange, but just stay with me for a minute, you have not seen my room. If you had (which would be a little odd), you would understand what I am talking about.

First, a description of my room might be helpful. Olive green walls, grey carpet, and a celing fan the refuses to work. There is an antique desk sitting right next to a nearly new Marshall half-stack. The mirror and cork board are covered in odd notes such as "Poeticly speaking, I accidently killed you. Sorry." There are sea shells and paintings of Brazil and Bohemian masks. Not to mention an entire pile of other things waiting to be hung on the walls.

The old man seems to me like a strange collection of experiences and qualities. You have sailing off the coast of Africa, eyes that hurt in the morning, arm wrestling contests, and loving turtles (Hemingway 16-36). He is a baseball fan, a fisherman, and a loving friend (Hemingway 15). He once had a wife (Hemingway 14). Dreams of lions and so many other different things all in the same person (Hemingway 18). Some of them seem like they should not go together, but somehow they all fit in just fine with each other. When you look at one or two individual pieces, it is hard to see. When you look at them all together, it is very easy to see the long and interesting life of an old fisherman.

When compared to my room, it is sort of the same. All of the strange things seem a little unconnected, but they are still all together in my room. They are where I have been and where I am going. The old man's life fits together the same way. I think thats what makes him so realistic. He is and has done so many different things, just like real people. Real people can not be put in a small labeled box, and neither can the old man.

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

Old Man and the Sea- Question 8

I think that Hemingway believes that there are certain responsibilities between old people and young people, that the old should teach the young and that the young should try to take care of the old. I also think Hemingway was effected by Spanish culture.

The relationship between the old man and the boy is a good example of Hemingway's ideal relationship between old people and younger people. The old man shares his experience with the boy in teaching him how to fish and lets him learn by trusting him with jobs (Hemingway 18). The boy helps the old man fish by bring him freash bait and other things (Hemingway 13). Because they help each other, there is a strong bond between them and love each other (Hemingway 13). In their relationship, both of them are happy to help. The boy's new boss, however, does not let the boy help him (Hemingway 18), so when he helps the boy by waking him up, the boy sees it as a bit insulting rather than as help (Hemingway 17). Because the old man and they boy help each other, there is love rather than disliking between them.

I remember in Spanish class last year we talked about bull fights. Senor Ares mentioned that Ernest Hemingway, along with some other artists were fans of it. This book makes me think that Hemingway was influenced by more than just bull fights. Hemingway uses a few Sapnish words when narrating the old man's thoughts, and the story takes place in Cuba, a Spanish speaking country. Respect for older people is a big deal in Spanish culture, and I think that is shown in how the boy treats the old man. The boy beats himself up for not taking better care of the old man and having things for the old man to wash with (Hemingway 16).

The old man's relationship with the boy is really how most relationships between old people and young people should be. There is love and respect between them, and perhaps that is partially because of the influence Spanish culture had on Hemingway's values.

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

Old Man and the Sea- Question 7

Hemingway uses character development to draw readers in to the story along with some suspense. While these two things are used quite a bit in almost every novel ever written, in Old Man and the Sea they are the two most effective things that keep a reader engaged.

In between the parts of the story where there is some sort of action going on, the old man thinks about his life. The memories that come up help develop his character and create lively past for the old man. While I was reading the book, I found myself getting bored with the fishing parts and looking forward to the next thoughts and memories the old man would have at the beginning of the story. I really wanted to know more about the old man and his life. Because I was drawn in to the character, I started paying more attention to the fishing parts because I saw how his past effected his thoughts about fishing. For instance, in the beginning it mentions that the old man had a wife who was religious (Hemingway 14). While he is fishing he says Hail Marys and promises to make a pilgrimage in order to catch his fish (Hemingway 34). Although the old man says he is not religious, he still prays partially because of his wife. Because of how his past shapes his character and how his character shapes his actions I was able to become interested in the fishing parts as well as the thoughtful parts.

In addition to creating a marvelous character, Hemingway uses a good deal of suspense too. When the fish starts nibbling at the old man's hook, the old man starts talking to the fish and to himself (Hemingway 25). The old man trying to convince the fish to take it and trying to convince himself the fish will take it really build the tension because the reader can tell how much the fish matters to the old man. When the fish is circling, the old man keeps thinking that the fish will kill him with each pass (Hemingway 45). This builds a lot of suspence because at this point one of the two will die, and it is hard to tell which one it will be.

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

Old Man and the Sea- Question 6

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.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Late Night Rant

So, it's around two in the morning, I'm tired, and The Beatles are singing about marshmallow pies. I have no idea what possesed me to continue writing this late at night, and I'm already starting to forget what I put at the beginning of this post. This should be fun. My head is starting to hurt, and I'm wondering if it has anything to do with all of this blasted thinking I've been doing, but who knows. I figure if I just keep ignoring the fact that what I type is acually going on a screen I won't have to think of the possibility that my spelling might be utterly humiliating. my grandmother tried to teach me how to spell when i was little. Her only suxcess was teaching me how to spell coffee, and that one took her around a month if I remember rithg. I just mixed up the letters in that last word and I refuse to fix it. For some reason i find this utterly hilarious, so i'm sitting all alone at two in the morning laughing at my own spelling mistakes. You would thing that at some point I'd just get tired of capitalizing i's, but apparently as much as I refuse to fix other errors, i will not compromise on my I's. I just re read what I wrote, and had to capitalize all of the I's because apparently I'm secritly a failure at pushing the shift key. A really groovy song just came on my ipod and I must relate to the computer journal what it is. . . if only I would stoop typing all of the ridiculous thing in my head long enough to accually check it. Ok. It's called I Feel Fine. I'm not putting this in parenthesis because i'm a rebel. I just learned how to put my ipod on shuffel today and I must say I love it. Head Pain.! i wonder what would happen if i stopped useing the backspace key. I'm going to. Dear Lord please help whoever has little enought sense to be reading all of this and wasting their time to understand the process my mind is going throught. oops. thats supposed to be a h over there .I can see this post is just going down hill from here. i wonder what my mother would say if she saw mye wasting my sleep-time on something so completely absured. Maybe I should just sleep mow. yeah. P.S. Mr. Langley, you should probably just disregard this.

Old Man and the Sea- Question 5

I am going to take what will perhaps be the road less traveled by and talk about the social issues the setting brings up. Wish me luck. I think one of them is how the old man says younger fishermen do not love the ocean. Another might be how poor the old man is.

The old man says that the younger fishermen use the masculine form of the word for ocean instead of the feminine form (Hemingway 20). The technically correct form is the masculine, but because the old fishermen love the sea like a woman they use a feminine form. Their love for the sea extends to the creatures in it as well. The old man refers to porpoises as his brothers because of this (Hemingway 27). When you love something, you take care of it. The young fishermen do not love the sea like the old men do, so why should they take care of it? Now that the old man's generation is gone, there is overfishing on many different types of fish. The sea is no longer loved and respected as it was back then, and so we see the results. Hemingway's short remark points to the reason why.

The story takes place in a town with many fishermen. I am fairly sure that fishing was not very profitable until recently, now that technology has made it possible to catch lots of fish. I think that may have something to do with how poor the old man is. I can not really imagine having coffee for breakfast, and having no idea where my next meal would come from. The old man must have a lot of faith and courage to keep fishing with no luck for eighty-four days (Hemingway 12).

I think respect for nature and poverty and important social issues that the story points out. When this book was written, the first was only the beginning of a problem, and the other a problem that has existed forever and will exist forever. Important stuff.

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

Old Man and the Sea- Question 4

There is no question that the hero in this story is the fish. Just kidding, it's the old man. I think one of the really interesting things about his character is that he is not just existing in the time he spends catching a fish, but has had an entire life before the story and will continue after it is finished. I think he acomplishes a good deal and represents certain characteristics too.

It is really amazing that in a book so short Hemingway portrays such a complete character. The way he stiches together the character's past with his present makes it feel like you are reading about a real person with a real past and real feelings. The old man will think about something, like how the sun is not hurting his eyes too much, and then mention how it used to be when he was younger, like that it had always hurt his eyes in the morning (Hemingway 20). Details like this make the old man seem alive. When he starts to get tired, he starts thinking more of his past. Memories that do not have much to do with the current story, like the one about the arm wrestling contest, make the old man deeper as a character (Hemingway 35). Right now, I am still trying to make myself believe that he is fictional.

In the book, the old man catches his fish. That is a huge acomplishment. For days he fights exhaustion and a monsterous fish and wins in the end. Because of this he can prove his bad luck is over.

I think the old man represents endurance if anything. He holds on to a line for days with a giant fish pulling him at the other end of it. He survives on raw fish and pure will power. Even when his shoulders hurt and his hand cramps he keeps his hold on the line (Hemingway 33).

At this point, I have decided to accept my delusion and believe that the old man is real. As I said in my last post, a person needs heroes, even fictional ones.

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

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.

Old Man and the Sea- Question 2

In Old Man and the Sea, there is both internal and external conflict. The old man is fighting both the fish and his guilt for catching the fish. Later on in the story, there is conflict between the old man and sharks.

The causes for these conflicts are pretty straitforward. With the fish, the conflict is caused because the fish is very big and strong. The old man, being an old man, has a lot of difficulty keeping the fish on the line and pulling him in (Hemingway 44). The internal conflict is also because the fish is so great. The old man respects the fish's strength and power, and because of that respect he feels guilty for trying to kill the fish (Hemingway 38). After he catches the fish, because the fish was bleeding, sharks come to feed on it.

The losses of these conflicts are pretty big. The old man may have won his conflict with the fish, but the certainly looses the conflict with the sharks. Because of that loss the old man's entire fish is eaten. It is hard to say what is lost in his conflict with his guilt, but I think it definitly caused the old man sadness to have to kill the fish, and even more sadness when the sharks ate something he had such respect for (Hemingway 55).

The gains of these conflicts were a little hard for me to see. Out of his conflict with the fish, the old man catches a magnificent fish, so perhaps he gained a little more confidence and some pride. I guess that because of his triumph over the fish he was able to break his unlucky streak, well, in a way. Because he finally caught a fish the boy decidesto go fishing with him again. The two are very close, so I would call that a gain.

I think part of what I like about this book is that the conflict does not end in all gain for the main character. Instead, like in real life, some things are lost too.

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

Old Man and The Sea- Question 1

I think the way Hemingway writes makes the book much more interesting than if it was just a story about a man catching a fish. When he narrates the old man's thoughts, he goes back and forth between feeling guilty for catching and killing such a magnificent fish to missing the boy who fished with him. I think this shows that Hemingway both respects nature and values relationships.

One example showing his respect for nature is that the old man really enjoys his dreams of lions he saw when he was young. He does not dream of anything else from his life, just the lions (Hemingway 18). Even when he is trying to catch the fish, he looks forward to dreaming abouth the lions (Hemingway 35). When something as small as a bird landing near him happens, the old man talks to the bird and lets it rest (Hemingway 30). Another example is that the old man feels guilty about catching the fish in the first place. He feels like the people who would eat the fish would not deserve to because the fish is so great (Hemingway 38). He does his best to fight the sharks that come to eat it not only because he needs to sell the fish but also because he does not want to see the fish torn apart and eaten. This shows that the old man had a lot of respect for his fish.

Even from the start of his fight with the fish, the old man wished the boy was with him. At times he wishes the boy was there to help him catch the fish, but mostly he misses the boy's company. He remembers catching one of a pair of marlin with the boy, and I think this memory was mentioned because at the time the old man felt guilty about catching the marlin that day (Hemingway 27). Now, catching this huge fish, the old man feels guilty again. The boy was a comfort to him when he caught the female marlin, and he wishes he had the boy to make him feel better while catching his monster fish. Throughout his entire time fishing the old man wishes the boy was with him, for no reason other than wishing he had company. The old man taught the boy to fish, and the boy makes sure the old man has good bait. The two try to take care of each other.

Hemingway has a lot of respect for both nature and relationships. The old man has huge respect and love for animals, and equal love for the boy. He thinks about both of them most of the time while he's fishing. If the author did not value these things, a doubt he would write about them.

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

Why I'm In Honors English

I really like classes that don't waste time on things I've already learned, so it makes sense for me to be in a class that will not be as much review as the normal English class. I also like that the class is weighted, and helps my GPA.