Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Book Review_ The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway Feature Image

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is a timeless classic that explores themes of tenacity, fortitude, and the underlying struggle of human life. This book, which has a sea as its backdrop, embodies the essence of the human spirit and delves deeply into the human condition.

This book is genuinely worth giving a read. The author conveys deep emotions and profound philosophical reflections in the simplest way possible. I got immersed in Santiago’s emotions as the old man felt the sun’s blistering heat, the fishing line’s relentless pull, and the sheer exhaustion.

The narrative’s protagonist is an elderly Cuban fisherman, Santiago, who has been experiencing persistent difficulties catching fish. Santiago embarks on a lone fishing trip deep into the Gulf Stream to prove his worth and break his unfortunate streak.

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The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway| Book Review

About the Author

Ernest Hemingway Author of Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway

Known as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) was an American author and journalist. He was raised in Oak Park, Illinois, and from a young age became passionate about writing.

Hemingway’s writing style and topic investigation were influenced by his experiences as an ambulance driver during World War I, a journalist covering numerous conflicts, and an avid traveler.

Hemingway wrote many outstanding fiction, non-fiction, and short stories during his career. “The Sun Also Rises” (1926), “A Farewell to Arms” (1929), “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1940), and “The Old Man and the Sea” (1952) are some of his most well-known books. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 for his eloquent writing that embodied the spirit of the times.

In addition to his creative accomplishments, Hemingway’s life was adventurous and turbulent. He had lived worldwide, including Paris, Key West, and Cuba, and had a strong passion for outdoor activities like bullfighting, hunting, and fishing. His life was also characterized by battles with his mental health and a tumultuous personal life.

Book Overview | The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway Cover Image

Full Title: The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Genre: Fiction

Publishing Date: 1 January 1952

Page Count: 96

Main Characters: Manolin, Joe DiMaggio, The Old Man, Perico, Martin

Setting: Set in the Gulf Stream waters off Havana, Cuba.

Themes: Perseverance and Resilience, Isolation and Solitude, Pride and Humility, The Cycle of Life and Death


This book is a masterfully written tale that offers a singular and everlasting perspective on the beauty and sorrow of man’s struggle against the natural world. Hemingway’s beautiful fairytale, set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Havana, tells the tale of an older man, a little kid, and a big fish.

Book Summary | The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Santiago, an elderly fisherman from Cuba, is the main character who has been without a catch for 84 days. Manolin, his apprentice, continues to provide him with food and bait despite being compelled by his family to leave the old fisherman.

The young man values Santiago as a mentor and the life lessons he shares with him. Santiago convinced that his luck must change, casts his boat far out into the Gulf Stream’s deep seas, where he quickly snags a massive marlin.

He struggles with the fish for three days with all his power and experience while admiring its fortitude, dignity, and loyalty to its identity; its fate is as accurate as Santiago’s as a fisherman. But Santiago’s arduous effort is in vain.

Although Santiago can kill a couple of the sharks drawn to the tied marlin, the sharks ultimately consume the fish, leaving just the bones.

The defeated Santiago returns to the harbor and then sleeps at home. Others are astounded when they see the skeleton fastened to his boat in the interim. After growing concerned, Manolin is relieved to see Santiago alive, and they decide to go fishing together.

My Takeaway From the Book

The Old Man and the Sea Image

Despite being relatively short in length, this story is profound and profoundly affects the reader. It serves as a poignant reminder of human perseverance and the ability to pursue one’s goals despite obstacles. It emphasizes how crucial resiliency in the face of difficulties is.

Santiago is an inspiration because of his persistent perseverance and refusal to give up in adversity. It serves as a reminder that tenacity and grit can result in development as people and ultimate achievement. Hemingway examines the frailty of life and the challenges that everyone must endure.

Santiago’s conflict with the marlin is a metaphor for humanity’s broader struggle with the elements and the passage of time. It serves as a reminder that we will face challenges in life, and how we respond to and conquer them determines who we are as people.

The book advocates a healthy balance between arrogance and humility. Santiago is driven by pride to achieve his goals and establish his values, but his humiliating sea experiences make him aware of his limitations. It teaches us the value of being aware of our assets and liabilities and remaining steady whether we succeed or fail.

What Did I Think of the Book? The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Even though it is a small book, there is much to appreciate about it, from the writing style to its symbolism. This work exemplifies Ernest Hemingway’s literary style, recognized for its elegance and understatement.

Several important lessons can be learned from this book’s exploration of tenacity, the connection between human nature and solitude, pride and humility, and the cycle of life and death. The characters are highly developed and enriched, especially Santiago, the old fisherman.


This book holds a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Conclusion | The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s literary masterpiece “The Old Man and the Sea” displays his talent as a writer. Readers of all ages will find it a moving and thought-provoking novel. This book is proof of the resilience of the human spirit and the capacity of literature to convey the core of the human condition.

Hope you like it, and if you do, feel free to let us know in the comments.

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