“Fisherman Up” (Classics)
I read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway because I had it one of my piles of books. What I really was looking forward to reading was the novel I had ordered, The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. It was due to arrive in the mail in a day or two, so I didn’t want to start another book. Then I spotted “The Old Man” and thought, what the heck. I’ll read this book in between, because it’s very short and it’s a modern classic. To tell the truth, I wasn’t expecting all that much. I know it’s supposed to be this great novella. After all, Hemingway won a Pulitzer Prize for it, so it couldn’tbe all that bad—but it was about fishing. I have about as much interest in fishing as I have about what’s under the hood of my car. But brevity is sometimes a great lure (no pun intended), so I dove right in. Surprisingly, I did like it. It wasn’t just about fishing. It was about a tough-as-nails old man who had incredible drive and determination. The old man, Santiago, was a fisherman in Cuba who was on a dry streak. He hadn’t caught a fish in 84 days. He had hardly eaten in that time, too. When most men would have withered in a corner, he faced another day with vast resolution and a little inspiration from baseball great Joe DiMaggio. With his idol in mind, the old man thought he should have confidence and be worthy of “the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly even with the pain of a bone spur in his heel.” In other words, Santiago needed to cowboy up. And that he did, and then some. He “fishermaned up.” I don’t want to give it all away, but will tell you he caught a fish—a big one. That fish took him on a four-day endurance test. Santiago’s time out there alone on the sea topped the “So you thought you had a bad week” category. For those of you who weren’t assigned this book in your sixth grade reading class, I encourage you to read it now. It’s a good one. It’s also extremely short, so if you end up not liking it, you won’t have wasted too much reading time.
As with many classics, you can find this one online.
As a side note from O. Magazine, September 2003: Author, Dan Brown, notes that The Old Man and the Sea remains one of his favorite books, “because it redefined my concept of success.”
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