This book made a tremendous impact on my when I was young.

Classics are wordy and deal with complicated concepts. If we haven’t gone to graduate school for literature, what right do you and I have to interpret them and judge them?

Bullshit, Hemmingway might have said to that.

The Old Man and the Sea is a simple story about a poor, aging Cuban fisherman who has gone 84 days without a catch. To survive, decides he must take his dingy out into the far waters.

Hemmingway used uncomplicated sentences and vocabulary. In this book he pairs those things down to a minimum to approximate the simplicity of his characters. Simplicity doesn’t mean lacking nobility or strength. The fisherman and his apprentice are decent, honest, and determined.

The brooding Hemingway felt that fate bears down on the good intentions of common people. The old man is heroic but can that alone allow him to overcome the forces against him?

Along with Steinbeck, Hemmingway wrote the most accessible of the classics. Published in 1953, Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1954. Hemmingway influenced the following generations of writers to write simply and write with empathy for the common man.

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