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Weeds and Grasses, Apples and Oranges

[ Edited ]

Weeds or grasses such as "esparto" and "hemp" have been historically used to make ropes or lines for nautical purposes among other things. The old man was happy that the "gulf weed"  helped to weigh down the fishing line in the sea. Nautical lines and fishing nets couls actually be made of weeds themselves. I think the old man mentions "Catalan cardel" at some point in the story.

 

I make my comparisons loosely to help people understand. For example, I mention that the "old man" is a "nation state." And to a few, such comparisons are like comparing  apples to oranges. But we need not compare anything. In this novella, for example, Santiago, or old Spain, is still in the culture of Cuba today. The old man Santiago is in part "old Spain" or in part, the culture that was before Cuba. The United States would be, in part, the cultures that existed prior to its inception. That is, we are unable to distinguish between apples and oranges because the lines between these two objects converge at some point.

 

Therefore, the line between youth and old age, man and fish (fishing lines), land and sea (beaches), the lines of the christian cross (horizontal and vertical), between left and right, between body and mind, between male and female, between lucky and unlucky, between political ideologies, between probability and certainty- all converge on the open sea- they are all one and the same.

 

Chad 

 

 

PS- The certainly converged in the sea between Cuba and Florida.

 

 

Message Edited by chad on 04-11-2009 10:51 PM
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Lines between male and female

It is difficult to envision a fishing line as the line between men and women. Perhaps fishing lines are the lines between men and women if we think of modern societies as having evolved from early ports or fishing communities. Civilizations gradually divided the roles of men and women, but there are obviously biological differences between men and women as well. And it's not always easy to tell the difference between the two types of lines between men and women- natural and man-made lines, that is. I, like Santiago, do notice a natural difference between male and female dolphins- females seem to have a certain femininity about them. But Dolphins are, interestingly, also considered to be a highly  "intelligent" animal. Such differences are not always noticeable in all animals. 

 

But certainly, and sadly, Santiago's fishing line came between the male and female Marlin couple. His fishing was probably also the line between himself and his wife. The women of the fishing community probably stayed ashore, while the men fished. Fishing still tends to be a man's sport, I believe, but I certainly do not want to be sexist.

 

Chad 

 

 

  

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Re: Lines between male and female cont.

On the butchered female Marlin: 

 

Santiago and Manolin continue with butchering the female Marlin but feel sadly for the male Marlin afterwards. There are some lines that men are not suppose to be cross vis-a-vis women. But women are killed in society. The female marlin was killed, one could say, because of that line, or by that line, between man and fish however.

 

Chad

 

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Re: Lines between male and female cont- the ocean

Santiago also thinks about how the ocean seems to be male to some and female to others- the lines between men and women converge in the sea. I have been doing a review of German grammar and vocabulary which designate nouns as either masculine, feminine or neutral. I double checked the german equivalents of the word, "ocean" and I found a masculine(Ozean)  a feminine (See) and a neutral word (Meer)- Sorry folks! Maybe a review of other languages might give us a concensus on the sex of the ocean.

 

Chad 

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Re: Lines between male and female cont- the ocean

Women would later join the equal rights movement of the 1960's, but have struggled to break free of "sexist" lines throughout history. But probably the most significant progress in women's rights had been made in 1800's. Hemingway perhaps brings up the most important question of our time: Are sexist lines natural or created by man and woman? Do sexist lines at some point converge as they do in the sea?

 

Chad

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What else can I tell you?

[ Edited ]

I took a short break from "The Old Man and the Sea" and now just realized that probably is not too much more left tell you before I break for the summer (I've been swimming in the Florida "shark-infested" sea getting ready for more lifeguarding).

 

But what we all might agree upon is that "The Old man and the Sea" is a story about one man's struggle with a Marlin. Just a fish you say? Well, maybe. But if the Marlin ceased to exist, then Santiago's struggle, and our story, would never have taken place. More broadly, if we were the only animals to exist, then we need not to delineate ourselves from them by calling ourselves "human." Humanity is relative to other living things and the Marlin becomes my brother if we remove the lines between us.

 

But throughout time, the human being has defined his own existence through his own struggles with the animals of our planet. For example, Romans fought animals in the Circus Maximus and the Colliseum. Lion hunts would define upper classes and aristocracies of both ancient and modern civilizations. The hunter is more powerul than the hunted; the human victor in a struggle with a lion, for example, is mightier than human. And the fisherman who catches the largest Marlin is the best fisherman in the village.

 

Cuban Missile Crisis anyone?

 

Chad 

Message Edited by chad on 04-24-2009 12:25 AM
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Re: What else can I tell you?

The fisherman calls the Marlin his "brother" while he has him hooked- this is how many feel "communism" works. But if you remove all the lines between you and the fish, as I mentioned, then the fish will truly be your brother.

 

Have a great summer everyone!

 

Chad

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Just a couple more things...

[ Edited ]

Las Cruces , NM is the sight of the first A-bomb. a little birdie told me. The creation of the A- bomb would be significant in the coming "Cuban Missile Crisis." And should not be left unmentioned.

 

Also-

 

Bullfighting still takes place in Spain. You could compare the struggle between a Matador and a bull to the struggle between Santaigo and the Marlin (the Marlin begins to circle like a bull). How did Hemingway feel about fishing vs. bullfighting? Bullfighting is a struggle between man and animal, and, in this case, the animal has a chance to fight back- but he usually loses. But bullfighting is a spectator sport escalated above the usual hunt and slaughter of animals and seems to be more "pure" than the deception of the fisherman that Hemingway describes in detail. However, the struggle between Santiago and the Marlin takes place on the sea. It seems to be more of a pure struggle with Nature in this sense. There is no "show" or spectator sport, and Santiago really fights for his own survival.

 

Which brings me to another point: our existence depends on what others "hear or read about" through the magic of language and also on what they see with their own eyes. If I hear, or read about, a famous baseball player, then sometimes I have to see him for myself, for example. Conversely, my fame is also dependent on what others "see" and then convey to others, again through the magic of language- and so on, and so on, as the lines of my existence grow ever deeper and stronger. But P.T. Barnum who once said, "A sucker born every minute." would also attempt to draw a crowd to a circus through the use words and hopefully the crowd would "see" what they would not believe.

 

Chad

 

PS- I think the magic of television began in the 1940's and 50's-  around Hemingway's time. 

 

Message Edited by chad on 04-25-2009 01:34 AM
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Seeing is believing

[ Edited ]

History, Politics, Law, Science, Religion and Sports make up the lines, or borders, of Nation-states, And the lines of Nations deepen, elongate, merge, shorten or conflict through this continual cycle of story-telling (or reporting) and observation. The old man's catch seems to be a half-victory, however, when two observers mistake the Marlin for a shark at the end of the story....

 

Maybe more, but once again, have a nice summer!!!!

 

Chad  

Message Edited by chad on 04-26-2009 11:12 AM
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prehistoric cave markings- the earliest lines

And I have to mention: 

 

The earliest cave markings that we know supposedly exist on this website: http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/arcnat/chauvet/en/

 

But the cave markings at Chauvet are not the only prehistoric markings that we know of. There are supposedly other prehistoric caves which depict animals and the hunt of animals. Our language, our reason, our logic and intellect developed from early struggles of animals and their depiction on cave walls.

 

Chad

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"Der Spiegel"

I should also mention the german magazine, "Der Spiegel" which translates to "the mirror"-a pro-west or a pro-democracy magazine published in Germany. Remember that mirrors are finite- they are limited in scope(s), like periscopes in nuclear submarines. Also, the "real" opposite of a mirror is usually grey. Mirror opposites exist "in scope." And this really is enough. I hope everyone has a fun summer!

 

 

Chad 

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Re: Jesus Christ figure

I discussed with my students this symbology of Christ in The old man and the sea. They found too many clues that indicated the relation to Christ's figure: the suffering, the hands cut while he is in the sea (marks on the hands like Christ on the cross), the ressurrection (when arrives alive with the fish). I didn't realize the connection to the devil. Perhaps I need a more profound reading of the book.
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Re: Jesus Christ figure


marciliogq wrote:
I discussed with my students this symbology of Christ in The old man and the sea. They found too many clues that indicated the relation to Christ's figure: the suffering, the hands cut while he is in the sea (marks on the hands like Christ on the cross), the ressurrection (when arrives alive with the fish). I didn't realize the connection to the devil. Perhaps I need a more profound reading of the book.

 

marciliogq--Christian symbolism is very much a part of most of the traditional readings of this novel.  The fish imagery, alone, points the way toward a sound, Christ-centered argument, and the features you and your students noticed are definitely there. 

 

Chad is a free spirit here in Classics.  He reads books with a unique eye and brings his own take on things.  It's not always the prevailing reading among literary critics, nor does it have to be.  I would read his comments with interest, but I'd caution all of our members to avoid the assumption that well-spoken thinkers/readers here in the club speak for the majority of the critical community. 

 

Our members' observations often promote further thought and re-reading, which I happen to think is great!  I also subscribe to the notion that there is not one, single "correct" interpretation of a novel, though there can be mis-readings by those who may pick and choose details from a text to "prove" a kind of agenda-type of reading (I'm not saying Chad has done that, btw).

 

I hope this makes sense!

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: Jesus Christ figure

[ Edited ]

Well, I thank you both for your attention. I find Santiago the same chacteristics as the devil and Jesus Christ, however. JC and the devil are polar opposites, but I argue that all lines between opposites at some point collide and converge.

 

Language is a mirror, of sorts, by the way. We use adjectives to describe ourselves to create lines and help reinforce the lines of our existence. Polar opposites (North and South, east and west, right and left, front and back, bow and stern) also exist in language. Do polar opposites exist in Nature as they do in religion?

 

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 05-05-2009 07:24 AM
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Antonyms

There is JC symbolism, but I thought "antonyms" were more important to the theme or are the theme of the story. So, profoundly, antonyms and this "mirroring effect" that language can have are the sources of the world's problems. Indeed, we sometimes see the world in terms of opposites when sometimes no opposite truly exists. "Bipolar" disorders are a often quoted in the media. Or, more importantly, we actually encapsulate civilizations within the poles of the earth. For example, we sometimes see an East/West struggle (East/West Germany) or a North/South struggle (The US Civil War)- some of the world's more costly "bipolar" disorders.

 

Chad

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Re: Opposites

[ Edited ]

chad wrote, in part:

 

Language is a mirror, of sorts, by the way....Do polar opposites exist in Nature as they do in religion?

 


Your post makes me think, Chad, of the reflection of the sky in bodies of water--that mirror effect, so to speak.  Would you see the line of the sea at the horizon as one of your lines demarcating polar opposites in Nature?

Message Edited by ConnieK on 05-06-2009 04:36 PM
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Re: Jesus Christ figure

ConnieK and Chad,

 

The discussion about language is a bit fruitful and controversial. If think on language as the source of creation, or been, God used language to create everything (birds, sea, earth, universe, man...) and even God himself exists through language. There's a book in Brazilian Literature called The hour of the star by Clarice Lispector and I remember the narrator says: God only exists if I "SAY"  He exists, if I pronounce His name. So, the same idea is you have been said.

 If we use language to reinforce opposites and life is entirely made of these polarities so even God and Devil are creation of language? Am I only a human being and all of my concepts of philosophy, life, social relationship, culture a product of my own language too?

 


Chad wrote:

 

Well, I thank you both for your attention. I find Santiago the same chacteristics as the devil and Jesus Christ, however. JC and the devil are polar opposites, but I argue that all lines between opposites at some point collide and converge.

 

Language is a mirror, of sorts, by the way. We use adjectives to describe ourselves to create lines and help reinforce the lines of our existence. Polar opposites (North and South, east and west, right and left, front and back, bow and stern) also exist in language. Do polar opposites exist in Nature as they do in religion?

 

Chad



 

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Re: Jesus Christ figure

[ Edited ]

I do not think Hemingway argues that God does not exist, or the fact that God may have created language or "creationism." But do you think that God or religion contributed, in any way (positively or negatively), to Santiago's struggle with the Marlin?

  

Chad 

Message Edited by chad on 05-07-2009 01:06 AM
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Re: Language


marciliogq wrote:

ConnieK and Chad,

 

The discussion about language is a bit fruitful and controversial. If think on language as the source of creation, or been, God used language to create everything (birds, sea, earth, universe, man...) and even God himself exists through language. There's a book in Brazilian Literature called The hour of the star by Clarice Lispector and I remember the narrator says: God only exists if I "SAY"  He exists, if I pronounce His name. So, the same idea is you have been said.

 If we use language to reinforce opposites and life is entirely made of these polarities so even God and Devil are creation of language? Am I only a human being and all of my concepts of philosophy, life, social relationship, culture a product of my own language too?

 


 

Interesting.  This makes me wonder about another topic--not language and 'creation,' but rather language and knowledge.  I wonder--we can 'know' a table by touching it, banging our shin on it, etc., but can we 'know' abstractions--love, faith, for example, without language to articulate them and share them with others? 

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: Language

I liked Stephen Crane's view. Our language contains elements of the earth and sky. The earth represents the tangible and the sky represents the intangible.

 

Chad