Thanks to the efforts of same-minded literary critics, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway joined the ranks of timeless novellas. Somehow, a simple tale about an old fisherman’s determination to catch a humongous fish pushed itself into a mountain of respect from readers.
Most agree that the plot is rife with symbolism and metaphors relating to the author’s own struggles and problems during his lifetime. Perhaps they are correct. However, beauty in literature is always in the eyes of the reader, which means that many will submit to general opinion and agree with the media’s response to a novel by a promoted author such as Hemingway. In fact, The Old Man and the Sea seems to be a mediocre example of a symbolic novella, let alone a moving story.
Not even narrated in “fairy tale” style, the storyline endlessly circles around a one-man fish hunt, a boring escapade that continually lengthens into some sort of confusing spiritual episode that not even the dizzy author understood. Ironically, there is no vitality or spirit in this venture that the reader can hang on to, none that can be grasped at from the dry words that are untouched by the author’s vision of the sea. Hemingway writes uncertainly, acting in his narrative as if he himself has no idea what he is talking about through his main character’s actions. No dialogues means that The Old Man and the Sea is mostly focused on actions and reactions, most of which sound like a description of a mundane and traditional fishing expedition.
While it is commonly known that art dealers will advertise that the artworks they have on sale are meaningful in order to attain publicity and profit, the same can be asserted for publishers and the writers they sponsor. Obviously, Hemingway’s publicist was very competent when it came to propagating such a disappointing work as The Old Man and the Sea.
Original review: What’s the fuss about ‘The Old Man and the Sea’?, Examiner.com