Brook is reading The Sun Also Rises. Her teacher is much more merciful to her than mine was to me. Of all the possible Hemingway books she could have assigned, she chose The Old Man and the Sea. It took me 25 years before I would read anything else by Hemingway. It was the very first piece of “literature” we read in 9th grade and right from the start, I had grave misgivings about my ability to endure four years of high school.
Every. Word. Was. Pure. Tedium.
The story was lame, the characters unimpressive. I started to root for the marlin about halfway through hoping that the fish would drag Santiago out of his boat and drown him, mercifully ending both of our struggles.
Some critics have said that Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea as a response to another book that critics panned but revenge is not a good excuse for writing this practical joke. It’s full of obvious metaphors that leap off the page to deliver a dope slap to your head. I couldn’t believe he won a Pulitzer for it except that the book has that mystique of being an allegory about something profound, like an ordinary object mounted on a canvas and declared art. It’s like blaming the victim if you don’t appreciate it, therefore, it must be a masterpiece.
It’s only saving grace is that it is short.
What was your most boring assigned reading in high school?
(Loved The Scarlett Letter. The words are lush)