“A person can be destroyed, but it can not be defeated”.
Ernest Hemingway is a man of amazing destiny, the author of a number of excellent books, among which a special place belongs to the story “The Old Man and the Sea”, created in the middle of the 20th century, in 1952, a novel for which the writer was awarded the Nobel Prize.
Why did the world community value this small work, telling about the fishermen of the island of Cuba? Why is it that today, when you read it, your heart is squeezed from pain for a person, then it covers pride for him, exhausted, hardly alive, but undefeated?
I think the fact is that “The Old Man and the Sea” is not a household story, but a story-parable glorifying a Man, glorifying his courage and steadfastness.
The plot of the work is very simple. The old Cuban fisherman Santiago goes to the sea for fishing. After eighty-four days of unsuccessful search for prey, he finds a
huge swordfish. It is so great and strong that, swallowing the hook, floats far into the sea, dragging the old man’s boat behind him. Three days and three nights fight lasts between a fisherman and a giant fish. In the end, Santiago wins, but predatory sharks devour his prey. Instead of a beautiful fish that could feed many people, it brings only its skeleton to the shore.
It would seem that the hero must be humiliated, broken by his defeat, angry at the whole world. But no! The old fisherman – a man of great courage – does not despair: he is sure that not today, tomorrow, gathering strength, will again go to sea for a big fish and will try to win.
This narrative probably worries so much because Hemingway is very precise and specific in describing the life and struggles of the old fisherman. Calmly, measuredly, avoiding lofty words, tells the writer about all the details of single combat of Santiago with a huge fish, conveys his thoughts on the meaning of human life, on the unity of man with nature, about the fact that we humans are not masters of nature, but part of it, and are subject to
the same laws to which sunsets are subordinated, and sunrises, and a sea wave, and a wonderful fish, and saber-tooth shark predators.
You believe the writer, because, loving your hero, admiring him, the author does not seek to embellish it. He, the author, is convinced that such a person as Santiago does not need beautiful words: the old fisherman, exhausted, with eyes that are red with insomnia, with uneaten hands eaten with salt water, with a mouth that is caked with thirst, is truly beautiful and undaunted, nothing can force him to surrender, to submit to the evil will of fate.
The image of this particular simple working man grows up to the symbol of Man, the “big fish” is a symbol of a great goal in which the meaning of human life is embodied, and sharks embody a predatory, evil beginning. In the fight against this evil man defends his right to self-respect, to a decent life.
The writer does not inspire us that it is easy. The strength of his hero is that, having suffered defeat, he does not despair, does not lose faith in himself and, more importantly, continues to believe in the ultimate triumph of a good start.
Santiago is going to continue his work with the Boy. The image of Boys in the story is very important: it embodies faith in the future, the idea that a person is not alone in a life struggle.
Yes, Santiago is pursuing setbacks. A symbol of bad luck chasing the old man is the sail of his boat, “all in patches of burlap”, reminiscent of “the banner of the broken regiment”. But the writer, emphasizing the old age of the fisherman, observes that he has “cheerful eyes of a man who does not give up.”
Unforgettable and description of the duel of an old man with a big fish, when, to the limit, exerting strength, Santiago continues to fight her, confident that he will not back down. “Fish,” he called quietly, “I will not part with you until I die.”
He is convinced that man is not created to “endure defeat”. That’s why the old man does not remain inactive when his sharks attack the fish. Although he is old and exhausted, although his hands are wounded, he continues to struggle.
After the knife tied to the oar breaks, Santiago can not save his fish from the predatory sharks, but he accepts the collapse of his hopes calmly, with dignity. “Who won you, old man?” He asked himself, “no one,” he answered, “I just went too far into the sea.”
There is no tragic ending in the work. An exhausted, exhausted, but unconquered old man still gets to the port.
And we close the story with faith in the creative capabilities of man, in the ineradicable power of his love of life and endurance.
The drama that took place in the distant sea does not leave a feeling of despair and despair. While a person is alive, a heroic beginning can not die in him, and in this his greatness. Before the firmness of Santiago worships the Boy, we also admire readers. Great respect is caused by this man, who fought even after he realized that the struggle was useless. A lot of his life taught him, but he did not learn to retreat.
Yes, “a man sounds proudly!” – with such an idea we close an unforgettable story – one of the finest books of our century.