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Old 03-21-2018, 02:56 PM   #76
CRussel
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Great post. The Christian allegory passed me by completely - like Charlie I'm an atheist. I'm going to have to reread at some point with your interpretation in mind.
Yes, me too. I didn't see it at all, but now it's hitting me upside the head with my "Duh Stick". So yet another re-read is in my future.
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Old 03-21-2018, 03:39 PM   #77
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Or maybe not, if the following is an accurate quote

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/338...-any-symbolysm
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Old 03-21-2018, 07:03 PM   #78
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Good find Alohamora.

I didn’t think anything much of the names. The only thing I did note and then dismissed was the reference to the sound Santiago made when he hurt his hand as being the sound a man would make when a nail was hammered into his hand. I thought that Hemingway was wanting us to see Santiago as Christlike, and I thought it was a bit over the top.
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Old 03-21-2018, 07:48 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Alohamora View Post
Or maybe not, if the following is an accurate quote

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/338...-any-symbolysm
Ah, that sounds do Hemingway!

I know of very few authors who claim they intentionally use symbolism, but at the same time, I think Hemingway was being seriously disingenuous.
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Old 03-21-2018, 08:06 PM   #80
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It was in a letter rather than being a public statement. I suppose it depends whether he was writing with an eye on later publication, and of course to whom he was writing.
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Old 03-21-2018, 08:24 PM   #81
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The only thing I did note and then dismissed was the reference to the sound Santiago made when he hurt his hand as being the sound a man would make when a nail was hammered into his hand. I thought that Hemingway was wanting us to see Santiago as Christlike, and I thought it was a bit over the top.
I think that was what was intended, though. I'm still struggling with this, and the best I can come up with is that Santiago was supposed to be Christlike, as you say, and not Christ, in the sense of having taken up his cross and dealing with the means of his salvation. Santiago is everyman in that respect, and not Christ himself. I'm still trying to work through the metaphors, but I am absolutely confident they're there.

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I think Hemingway was being seriously disingenuous.
Yup.
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Old 03-21-2018, 11:39 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Alohamora View Post
Or maybe not, if the following is an accurate quote

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/338...-any-symbolysm
Quote:
Originally Posted by CRussel View Post
Ah, that sounds do Hemingway!

I know of very few authors who claim they intentionally use symbolism, but at the same time, I think Hemingway was being seriously disingenuous.
The concluding sentence of the quote ("What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.") is curious. Is it just me, or does this sentence effectively negate the sentences before it?


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Good find Alohamora.

I didn’t think anything much of the names. The only thing I did note and then dismissed was the reference to the sound Santiago made when he hurt his hand as being the sound a man would make when a nail was hammered into his hand. I thought that Hemingway was wanting us to see Santiago as Christlike, and I thought it was a bit over the top.
(Added emphasis mine.) That was my reaction. Same, too, for the fish feeding an implied multitude and that multitude not being worthy of it. (This thought shortly after "The fish is my friend too [...] But I must kill him." That Santiago kept telling us how much he loved the fish made me think of that line from The Princess Bride: "I do not think it means what you think it means." )

I get the impression that Hemingway didn't have a lot of imagination, that much of what he wrote was taken directly from experience. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think it explains some of his lack of subtlety. It also explains some of the stiff awkwardness in his character interactions - they are too literal (for my tastes). You don't see it so much in The Old Man and the Sea, but in The Sun Also Rises a lot of the dialogue is almost torturous to read.
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Old 03-22-2018, 08:57 AM   #83
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That concluding sentence sounds as if he had been having a few drinks before and during writing the letter. Does it negate what he had just said, or does he mean that if you see anything beyond the basics (old man, boy, sea, fish, sharks) it is because you are seeing, as it were, your own knowledge/beliefs?

And of course we all bring our own experience, prejudices and so on to the book when we read it and interpret it.
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Old 03-22-2018, 10:41 AM   #84
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(Added emphasis mine.) That was my reaction. Same, too, for the fish feeding an implied multitude and that multitude not being worthy of it. (This thought shortly after "The fish is my friend too [...] But I must kill him." That Santiago kept telling us how much he loved the fish made me think of that line from The Princess Bride: "I do not think it means what you think it means." )
The line about loving what you kill seems to me to be a pretty common literary trope; I'd guess it's how people justified the indefensible. I'm reminded of a quote by Isak Dinesen that I couldn't track down, something along the lines of, "To see a lion and not want to kill it...." Of course that was entirely indefensible, unlike a peasant fisherman who fishes to live.

And in one of those synchronicities, it was Dinesen who Hemingway said should have won the Nobel instead of him.
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Old 03-22-2018, 10:58 AM   #85
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The line about loving what you kill seems to me to be a pretty common literary trope; I'd guess it's how people justified the indefensible. I'm reminded of a quote by Isak Dinesen that I couldn't track down, something along the lines of, "To see a lion and not want to kill it...." Of course that was entirely indefensible, unlike a peasant fisherman who fishes to live.

And in one of those synchronicities, it was Dinesen who Hemingway said should have won the Nobel instead of him.
And in a bit of off-topic, I sincerely hope we are able to select a bit of Isak Dinesen to read for the Club at some point.
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:00 AM   #86
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Oscar Wilde, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol":
Quote:
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Complete poem here.
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Old 03-22-2018, 03:21 PM   #87
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Well, now I’ve read one of the “American classics” (not part of the curriculum here). Not my cup of tea... I kept waiting for something more to happen, some resolution or hint of the future for the boy. It was an interesting take on a story. Although the old man surviving for days at sea with just one bottle of water... I guess I read too many dystopian novels to buy that
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:44 PM   #88
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The line about loving what you kill seems to me to be a pretty common literary trope; I'd guess it's how people justified the indefensible. I'm reminded of a quote by Isak Dinesen that I couldn't track down, something along the lines of, "To see a lion and not want to kill it...." Of course that was entirely indefensible, unlike a peasant fisherman who fishes to live.

And in one of those synchronicities, it was Dinesen who Hemingway said should have won the Nobel instead of him.
I didn't find a quote exactly like you began, but did find this about Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen).

Quote:
She doesn't like to use his gun; it's too big. But, she says, the shot is for love, so shouldn't it use the largest caliber weapon?
[...]
But when Karen Blixen tells the story, the love is unquestionably for the lion. Hunting, she insists, is like a love affair. Usually, she admits, the passion is one-sided. The hunter is in love; the prey, not so much. But with lions, she insists, it's different: they want to kill her as much as she wants to shoot them.
I must admit that I find this use of "love" suggests a looseness in the writing or dialogue, akin to saying "I love ice-cream", or a having a womaniser explain himself as "I love women". While there is certainly a dictionary sense in which this is the correct use of the word, the hunting context is such that the word never feels appropriate to me. I do know something of the intensity of feeling that can arise while hunting or fishing, but to describe it as "love" is (I think) misleading.
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:12 AM   #89
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I read "love" in this instance as meaning more identification with and empathy for the hunted, evoking a mutuality that of course does not exist but helps get the hunter off the hook morally.
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Old 03-23-2018, 09:47 AM   #90
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I think your interpretation is correct (at least to some extent). I wasn't really suggesting that they meant to use the strong predilection sense of "love" (like "I love ice-cream"). Rather, I was suggesting that they were being lazy/loose in their writing to use "love" where they really mean something else.

A hunter eventually gains familiarity with the creatures hunted, and humans have a strong tendency to anthropomorphise which can lead them to think the apparent intimacy is reciprocated. The result is a misinterpretation of the creature's behaviour.

And then there is the thrill of the chase, and once the adrenalin kicks in a person's systems are - to some extent - taken over by more primitive instincts. This is one way that hunting accidents happen, and it is one way in which people manage not to think so much about the violence of the act.

Put together, the imagined intimacy of the relationship and the climactic highlights, I can see why some might find similarities to romantic love - or at least a "love affair", which can have less savoury connotations - but it comes across (to me) the same as a stalker claiming to love the object of their affection: rather creepy and distasteful.


But unlike with the stalker, I don't see this use of "love" by hunters as a moral escape - or not of the killing itself. In most cases the hunter will have already justified the killing (rightly or wrongly) before it gets to the stage of "love". Instead, I see the use of "love" being a way to try and excuse or explain the thrill/buzz/excitement that comes with the hunt. The spark of adrenalin is real, but no one is supposed to say that they enjoy killing, so they look around for a more acceptable description, and what could be more acceptable than love?
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