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The Old Man and the Sea is Ernest Hemingway’s last major work of fiction, first published in 1952. The book won a Pultizer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. On the surface, it is a tale of an aged fisherman and his struggle to land a giant marlin. At a deeper level, this classic novel studies man’s resolution, faith and endurance in the face of defeat. Here are a dozen great quotes from this timeless story:
- Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.
- Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?
- He did not say that because he knew that if you said a good thing it might not happen.
- No one should be alone in their old age, he thought. But it is unavoidable.
- I may not be as strong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution.
- Let him think that I am more man than I am and I will be so.
- It’s silly not to hope. It’s a sin he thought.
- The thousand times that he had proved it means nothing. Now he was proving it again. Each time was a new time and he never thought about the past when he was doing it.
- “But man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
- Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.
- Luck is a thing that comes in many forms and who can recognize her?
- He rested sitting on the un-stepped mast and sail and tried not to think but only to endure.
Hemingway’s 1940 epic war story, For Whom the Bell Tolls, provides glimpses into the author’s personal perspectives of the Spanish Civil War – and his bold, stark insights into war and politics, and killing, dying and the coming to terms with one’s mortality. It is a novel preoccupied with death and, at the same time, with the nurturing of hope in the face of the atrocities of war.
Here are a dozen bons mots from the book:
- Every one has to do what he can do according to how it can be truly done.
- For what are we born if not to aid one another?
- I am thee and thou art me and all of one is the other.
- Everything you have is to give. Thou art a phenomenon of philosophy and an unfortunate man.
- You have it now and that is all your whole life is; now. There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.
- Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all other days that ever come depend on what you do today.
- I think that after the war there will have to be some great penance done for the killing. If we no longer have religion after the war then I think there must be some form of civic penance organized that all may be cleansed from the killing or else we will never have a true and human basis for living. The killing is necessary, I know, but still the doing of it is very bad for a man and I think that, after all this is over and we have won the war, there must be a penance of some kind for the cleansing of us all.
- How little we know of what there is to know. I wish that I were going to live a long time instead of going to die today because I have learned much about life in these four days; more, I think than in all other time. I’d like to be an old man to really know. I wonder if you keep on learning or if there is only a certain amount each man can understand. I thought I knew so many things that I know nothing of. I wish there was more time.
- There isn’t any need to deny everything there’s been just because you are going to lose it. Don’t be like some damned snake with a broken back biting at itself; and your back isn’t broken either you hound. Wait until you’re hurt before you start to cry. Wait until the fight before you get angry. There’s lots of time for it in a fight. It will be some use to you in a fight.
- Whether one has fear of it or not, one’s death is difficult to accept.
- I hate to leave it (life) very much and I hope I have done some good in it. I have tried to with what talent I had…. The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.
- There is no one thing that’s true. It’s all true.