The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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How do you feel about The Old Man and the Sea?

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accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I can see your point about finding the long narration of Santiago's struggle with the fish slightly boring in places, yet I agree with other editors in believing that this was a deliberate choice by Hemingway to indicate the length of the struggle and the perseverance necessary to continue it. However, to me, what stands out in this classic is the ending, when we see that Santiago has not relinquished his dreams and is determined to go back out to the sea and fish again, in spite of his massive failure. I think this is a model for all of us to not be crushed by the sufferings of the world that threaten to overwhelm us at times.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree with all those above.  And, if you found it a little boring and maybe tedious at times, imagine what it must have felt like for Santiago--alone, at sea with no land in sight, hungry, tired, wounded, feeling a little small up against this gigantic, strong fish.  The reason it's short is because neither the old man nor the readers can take much more than what Hemingway gave us.  I guess I'm willing to overlook the "boring" parts and be inspired by the perseverance and strength of Santiago.

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Alysha VonRueden eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think the "elongated" nature of the plot is part of Hemingway's point. He wants the reader to feel the struggle Santiago faces as he is alone for days on the open sea struggling against the fish. He wants the reader to feel some of that same exhaustion when Santiago makes it back to show with little to show for his ordeal. Great literature helps the reader to feel what the characters feel!

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engtchr5 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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You're not going to receive a lot of negative feedback on a classic novel in the midst of a bunch of teachers. Here's my two cents: The story is a shorter read, which is good for classes. The plot does seem "elongated," mostly because Hemingway was trying to generate empathy for Santiago on the part of his readers. The best thing about this novel, perhaps, is the honest interaction between man and boy -- the conversations they have, the actions that they take toward one another, and the thoughts that each convey all make a very realistic depiction of the relationship between the two...

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matthewchoma | Student

Well, I did think it was good, but he enlongated time he spent at sea. I felt like i was out there for 12 hours along with him.

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