Scott McKnight at Jesus Creed recently proclaimed The Old Man and the Sea to be the greatest American novel. After mentioning that he reads it every summer, I decided I should give it another read. I read it twice in High School, but had not read it in more than 15 years.
It is silly not to hope, he thought. Besides I believe it is a sin. Do not think about sin, he thought. There are enough problems now without sin. Also I have no understanding of it.
I have no understanding of it and I am not sure that I believe in it. Perhaps it was a sin to kill the fish. I suppose it was even though I did it to keep me alive and feed many people. But then everything is a sin. Do not think about sin. It is much too late for that and there are people who are paid to do it. Let them think about it.
A couple of thoughts as I read:
1) I am amazed at Hemingway’s ability to make this story interesting. Most of the book is an old man alone at sea, fishing in a small boat. Yet, Hemingway tells the story as a master of his craft.
2) As I read, I am drawn-almost compelled-to write. Perhaps it should always be that way when we view the work of a master.