Though The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most famous stories, it was criticized as much as it was praised. Written and published in the early 1950’s, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1952, and helped Hemingway win a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.
The Old Man and the Sea tells of the struggles of man against God, nature, humanity, and himself. Though it is said to be ripe with religious symbolism, I feel that it is more about the struggle of man against nature and the environment and his need to conquer and tame it. As the ocean teaches Santiago in the end, man has no control over nature and it gives only what it wants to give; and what nature gives to man, it can easily take away.
I chose this book as the the “20th Century Classic” in the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge. Reading it also achieved my goal of reading works from Nobel Prize for Literature Laureates, although I have read Ernest Hemingway before (A Movable Feast).