These articles are intended to round out the ideas presented by the novella
This winter, my junior English students have just finished reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and are beginning to develop their cumulative essays on the novella. To prepare for that, and to build more background knowledge about the novel and Ernest Hemingway, last week students broke into groups and read one article.
After reading the article as a group (however they wanted to accomplish the reading — whether one person read the entire article or each took turns — was fine with me), they gave a short presentation to the rest of their class and discussed the four to five major points or ideas their respective article discussed.
It was a “jigsaw” style of reading the articles. My hope is that students will find the articles helpful as they determine and then develop their individual topics for their essays, which require the novel plus one other source to reference.
Here are links to the articles I gave to each group:
- Lessons in Manliness from The Old Man and the Sea by Bryan Schatz:
This article, the shortest one of the five, discusses common (almost stereotypical???) themes of masculinity and how those are woven into the book.
- Books to give you hope: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway by Russell Cunningham
This article finds that hope and perseverance to attain that hope is the primary theme Hemingway addressed in the novel.
- The Hemingway Scene that Shows How Humanity Works by Joe Fassler
Fassler focuses on the recurring motif of the lions on the beach laced throughout the book. What do these memories mean to Santiago? This article interestingly dwells on the idea of memory and how our earliest memories never really leave us throughout our lives.
- What Lessons Can We Learn from The Old Man and the Sea? by Matt Reimann
Reimann brings up five points of discussion in this article. The most intriguing one to me was that “some things are meant to remain a mystery.” In the book, Santiago debates the idea of whether killing the marlin was a sin or not. In fact, Hemingway never resolves this issue for the reader and this question is one that remains with the reader long after finishing the book. I like how Reimann gives validity to the idea that authors aren’t required to tie up all the loose ends in their work. Sometimes bringing these questions to light is enough.
This is actually Chapter 14 from the book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, a fun read that examines literary techniques and quandaries (such as the prevalence of implied symbolism) in an easy-to-read style. This is the longest article; give it to your most advanced readers. The book discusses scenes from the book that are highly symbolic. Students will get the author’s point that symbolism, while highly subjective can also be quite obviously implied by authors. What readers do with those symbols is what makes reading fun, spiritually challenging, and most of all, an individualized experience.
Our presentations on these articles were informal and I required that listeners take notes on the four to five major points that each group discussed about their article. I wanted them to write enough notes to be familiar with each text in, so the articles could be accessed later as students delve into their chosen topics more deeply.
Thanks for reading again this week! I’ll keep you posted on their The Old Man and the Sea culminating essays. With all the recent snow days, it has taken us longer than I initially planned to finish this short novella. Up next: more Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and Frost.
Do you have any ideas for other articles to pair with The Old Man and the Sea? If so, please leave a comment and share your ideas.