Monday, 9 April 2012

Ernest Hemmingway – The old man and the sea

The old man and the biggest fish of his ilfe are connected by the fishing line – for many days. Besides the physical connection there is also a stronger connection.
This strange relationship, where one is trying to kill the other, yet they both need each other to exist is what is at the heart of the book. It is described as a noble existence. Everything else, is ‘slave work’.

“’Fish,’ he said softly, aloud, ‘I’ll stay with you until I am dead.’ He’ll stay with me too, I suppose, the old man thought and he waited for it to be light.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.38).

“’You’re feeling it now, fish,’ he said, ‘And so, God knows, am I.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.41).

“Imagine if each day a man must try to kill the moon, he thought. The moon runs away. Bu imagine if a man each day should try to kill the sun? We were born lucky, he thought. Then he was sorry for the great fish that had nothing to eat and his determination to kill him never relaxed in his sorrow for him. How many people will he feed, he thought. But are they worthy to eat him? No, of ourse not, there is no one worthy of eating him from the manner of his behaviour and his great dignity. I do not understand these hings, he thought. But it is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brother.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.57).

“The punishment of the hook is nothing. The punishment of hunger, and that he is against something that he does not comprehend, is everything.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.58).

“How simple it would be if I could make the line fast, he thought. But with one small lurch he could break it. I must cushin the pull of the line with my body and at all times be ready to give line with both hands.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.58).

“You are killing me, fish, the old man thought. But you have a right to. Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother, come one and kill me I do not care who kills who. Now you are getting confused in the head, he thought. You must keep your head clear. Keep your head clear and know how to suffer like a man. Or a fish, he thought.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.71).

“’There is very much slave work to be done now that the fight is over.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.73).

“Then his head started to become a little unclear and he thought, is he bringing me in or am I bringing him in? (…) But they were sailing together lashed side by side and the old man thought, let him bring me in if it pleases him. I m only better than him through trickery and he meant me no harm.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.76).

Then they got hit by sharks, who eat the dead marlin. “He did not look at the fish any more since he had been mutilated. Whenthe fish had been hit it was as though he himself were hit. But I killed the shark tht hit the fish, he thought.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.79).

“You were born to be a fisherman as the fish was bron to be a fish.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.81).

“You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you re a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.81).

“Besides, he thought. Everything kills everhing else in some way. Fishing kills me exactly as it keeps me alive.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.82).

then the sharks come in groups and he knows there is no chance to bring the fish into the harbour: “’Ay,’ he said aloud. There is no translation for this word and perhaps it is just a noise such as a man might make, involuntarily, feeling the nail go through his hands and into the wood.” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.83).

“He could not talk to the fish any more because the fish had been ruined too badly. Then something came to his head. ‘Half-fish,’ he said. ‘Fish that you were. I am sorry that I went too far out. I ruined us both. But we have killed many sharks, you and I, and ruined many others. How many did you ever kill, old fish? You do not have that spear on your heal for nothing.’” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.89).

“It is easy when you are beaten, he thought. I never knew how easy it was. And what beat you, he thought. ‘Nothing,’ h said aloud. ‘I went out too far.’” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.3).

“’They beat me, Manolin,’ he said. ‘They truly beat me.’ ‘He didn’t beat you. Not the fish.’ ‘No. Truly. It was afterwards.’” (Hemmingway, 1952, p.96).

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