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Old Man And The Sea (Scribner Classics)

The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway You can tell that story in twenty words? Well, I can tell it in nineteen!I'm sick of Hemingway fans gushing over his economy with words and hissimple sentence styles. I can appreciate why that sort of minimalism takes skill to master, but I'm a reader for chrissakes- I want to be told a story, not subjected to a sort of syntactical bloodletting, experimenting with how many words we can drain from a story and still have it live. Nobody swoons over the latest car that has such little horsepower it barely moves. Nobody runs around recommending their friends to try out the new burger joint in town that barely gives you any meat. I want content! I want to be entertained!! I'll take William Faulkner's runon cumulative sentences over Hemingway's locutional anemia any day. I'm starting to suspect the whole poverty of words schtick was just a gimmick to cover up lazy writing, anyhow. Seriously, this book doesn't bring much to the table. For one thing, it's practically a pamphlet. For another thing, it definitely validates Faulkner's observation of Hemingway: "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary". I think the reason The Old Man and the Sea (TOMATS) is a popular choice to assign middle school and lesser-achieving high school students is that the symbolism is about at subtle as a sledgehammer. I remember that walking around with this book in my high school was roughly the equivalent of driving around town with a "Student Driver" sticker affixed to your car. TOMATS is YET ANOTHER one of Papa's "gritty" but not very creative* tales of simple folk, which extracts profound truths from mundane situations. ::yawn:: Okay, I don't mean to be sarcastic- sometimes I'm in the mood for that kind of fare. You want the blow-by-blow? Here it is:After decades fishing the waters around his village, Old Santiago still has barely enough money to live. He dreams of nabbing that giant fish that has been sighted often in these waters, and which has become something of a local legend. Everybody figures Old Santiago is a has-been, and doesn't have the "stuff" to make a big catch like that anymore. He's been outcompeted by fishermen half his age, lately. So he resolves to go get the fish, dammit. And he does. It's a big epic battle, which the fish naturally loses. But wait! wait! wait! there's a big twist at the end! The miraculous catch is far too large to pull aboard Santiago's tiny boat, so he has to tow it along the side of the vessel. On the long return home, sharks catch scent of the fish, and nibble it down to a skeleton before Santiago, in a scene made for Hollywood, finally struggles onto shore after dark, emptyhanded. Irony much?..."Okay kids, break up into discussion groups to talk about what you think the fish represented."____________________________If you'd like to hear me reading this review, go tomy Big Audio Project!=============================*The saddest part of this story is the missed opportunity. This could actually have been interesting if it had been told from the point of view of the fish.