Monday, July 21, 2014

"The Old Man and the Sea" Read-Along

Good morning!  And welcome to the read-along of Hemingway's most famous* story, The Old Man and the Sea.  I'm so glad you could join me!  I think we're going to have some fun, learn a few things from each other, and maybe even make some new friends.

So here's how this will work:  Each of us will read TOMATS and then post our own reviews on our own blogs.  Below, you'll find a list of my suggestions for things you might want to discuss in your reviews, but of course you can choose what you want to write about.  And below those, you'll find a linky widget.  Once you've got your review written, paste your name and your post's URL in the widget.  Then follow the links to read everyone else's reviews and discuss what they thought in their comments!  That last part is very important, because that's how we can do all that fun and learning and friend-making, so please don't forget!

I'll post my own review in a day or so, and link to it on the list too.

Possible Discussion Questions:

+  Have you read The Old Man and the Sea before?  If so, did you like it more or less after this reading than you did before?

+  Have you read any of Hemingway's other works?  If so, how do you like this compared to some of his other writings?

+  What do you think the main point of the story is?  What is Hemingway trying to say here?

+  Some people say this story is full of symbolism, maybe even an allegory.  What do you think things like the old man, the fish, and the sharks could symbolize?

+  In 1952, Hemingway wrote a letter to his friend Bernard Berenson in which he said:  "There isn't any symbolysm [sic].  The sea is the sea.  The old man is an old man.  The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish.  The shark are all sharks no better and no worse."**  Do you think he was telling the truth, or being cagey?  Do you think that sometimes an audience can see more in a story than its author does? 

+  What do you think of the writing style Hemingway uses here?  Do you like it?  How does it add or detract from the story?

+  The Old Man and the Sea is required reading at a lot of high schools.  Do you think this is a good choice for teen readers?  Do you think some other story or book by Hemingway might be a better introduction to his work?

Okay, like I said, you can answer as many or as few of those questions as you like.  You can do a straight question-and-answer post by copying them, or you can just write a review that touches on those things, whatever.  Totally up to you!  When you're done with your review, please link to it here. 

*I have no basis for this claim, I just feel like it's the one everyone's heard of or read.
**I found this quote in an awesome book called Ernest Hemingway On Writing by Larry W. Phillips.


  1. Thanks, Hamlette! Hoping for a positive outcome this time around.

  2. I'm looking forward to the discussion. Thank you.

  3. I think this is the first read-along where I have been on-schedule. :) It was so much fun to read - thank you for hosting it! Can't wait to read others' posts.

    1. Woot! You're the first attendee to link up! Thanks -- I'll be reading your review as soon as I can :-)

  4. Thanks for hosting this! I really enjoyed reading the book again, even if it took me longer than I thought it would. My edition was only 93 pages and that included pictures.

    1. You're welcome! Thanks for participating -- if no one participated, it wouldn't be a read-along, after all :-) Just me reading a book by myself!


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