hemingway’s wisdom

i just finished “the old man and the sea” by ernest hemingway. it’s a seemingly simple story about a fisherman, santiago, and his long struggle to catch anything. ultimately, it centers around his battle to land a huge marlin.

here’s my take: the story gives insight into humanity’s relationship with creation– we are at our best when we are at one with creation.

santiago describes an organic relationship between him as a fisherman and the marlin who puts up a fight to escape death. it is a respectful relationship with an intimate dialogue and certain closeness to the fish that he is destined to kill. there is even a certain sense of awe for the marlin. this is the wisdom that santiago brings to us: a certain oneness between him and this huge fish, all fish.

But there also are our misunderstandings regarding the vicious nature of creatures in our world.

once santiago catches the marlin, he runs into sharks that smell the blood of the marlin. they want to eat and are not concerned about harmonic unity. this results in the expected violence as santiago aims to protect his record catch.

throughout the story too is the relationship with santiago’s apprentice named manolin. the old man passes on wisdom to the boy through accompaniment; the boy responds with kindness on his part

a key image too is the lion. the lion appears throughout the book in santiago’s dreams/thoughts– the book ends with him dreaming of a lion. perhaps santiago hopes for land creatures to have the unifying harmony that he has experienced on the sea. maybe the hyena could take the place of sharks in this scenario!

just some scattered thoughts here. a second reading of “the old man and the sea” could be part two of this post with a whole different interpretation!

how has harmony-chaos played out in your relationships with creation/creatures/humans?


  1. Joey says:

    very nice. gives me some things to thing about during this quarantine.


    1. frarthurcmf says:

      amen amen joey! this new coronavirus quarantine can be quite challenging… Godspeed to you


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