Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Old Man and the Sea Essay

Life is full of obstacles. I don’t know if you have realized it but life isn’t a piece of cake. You can be wise or intelligent, rich or just satisfied but it doesn’t get any easier. It’s really unpredictable with twists and turns and detours that always come at the wrong time. Compare life to a maze. You need to stay on the path in order to have a successful perfect life. But who has a perfect well put together life? No one. It’s impossible to be perfect, peaceful, and happy 24/7. Inside your life mazy there are always things that get in the way like wrong ways and walls. These walls are like obstacles. Sometimes these obstacles are really difficult to deal with but other times they make life more suspenseful like a mystery and rewarding in the end. In the book the Old Ma and the Sea Santiago had to deal with many obstacles when he decided to go after the marlin. He had struggled with the obstacle of not having the boy, his hand cramping, and the sharks.

The first struggle that Santiago comes across in The Old Man and the Sea is not having the young boy, Manolin by his side while fishing. The old man and the boy used to fish together but, since Santiago hasn’t caught a fish in 83 days so Mainolin’s parents won’t let them fish together. They think he is bad luck. Santiago feels very lonely while he is out in the ocean. He talks to himself a lot since the boy is not with him anymore. They both had such a great relationship and there is sort of emptiness inside of Santiago. While Santiago is attempting to real in the fish he constantly says things like: “If the boy were here, he would wet the coils of the line. Yes, if the boy were here” (83). Santiago is confident at first but he slowly gets afraid and worried that he might not be able to complete this task without Manolin which is a huge affect on Santiago's character.

The obstacle that really set Santiago over the edge was when his hand cramped up. He was tugging on the line with all his strength to capture the marlin when his hand just shut down. There really couldn’t have been a more critical moment in the story for that hand to work properly. Santiago gets so frustrated with this set back. He is so determined to catch this fish so he can prove to the boy and mostly himself that he’s still got it. I can imagine how ticked Santiago must have been. He starts to get angry with his hand: “Why was I not born with two good hands? Perhaps it was my fault for not training that one properly” (85). He begins to question himself and feels nervous and troubled. He starts to eat the fish he caught, raw, because he believes it will fix his hand. In the end, he needed to be patient and wait until his hand would un-cramp.

While Santiago is out in the ocean he encounters some creatures that give him a run for his money. Santiago is trying to get home when a group of massive sharks start attacking at Santiago’s boat and his prize possession, the marlin. The sharks were vicious: “The old man could hear the noise of skin and flesh ripping on the big fish” (102). They took the whole entire marlin and left him with just the skeleton. This really sucks for Santiago since he just put so much time and effort into catching the marlin and then it’s swept out from under him. He was devastated and probably cried a little with the loss of the marlin. He thought that it wasn’t fair and wished the marlin was never even caught. But, not everything in life is fair and Santiago thought it was just good enough to be able to catch such a fish and was proud.

So how is your life maze? There will always be obstacles in the way of accomplishing what you want to do. But hey, that's life. It shows what kind of person you are when you deal with the obstacles. If you are like Santiago and not let the failures in life get you down and just brush it off, or in Santiago's case, take a nap. "Up the road, in his shack, the old man was sleeping again" (127). Even though it was difficult Santiago needed to put the past behind him and failure of not coming home with the marlin so he could move on in life.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

3rd Quarter Outside Reading Book Review

3rd Quarter Outside Reading Book Review
No Limits, Michael Phelps with Alan Abrahamson, Free Press, 2008
Genre: auto-biography

The book No limits is an auto-biography by Michael Phelps. The book is about Michael Phelps’ journey to the Olympics. If you didn’t know by now in the 2008 winter Olympics Michael Phelps broke Mark Spitz’s record from 1972 of seven gold medals in a single Olympics. Michael ended up going home to Baltimore from Beijing with eight gold medals. This book talks about from Michael’s childhood until where he is now, the greatest athlete who ever lived. He takes you through what it took to get to where he is today. It wasn’t easy with the 24/7 training, mental preparation, and commitment. Michael also describes each one of his Olympics gold medal races and you really feel as if you are reliving the race again with him.

I couldn’t find a quote….

The writing style of this book is really descriptive. Since Michael Phelps is the one telling the story he describes it as if you were there again. You can really feel like you are back at the Water Cube in Beijing, China in 2008 relieving the historic moments. He tells the story as he experienced it not as we all say it at on the television. Along with being descriptive Michael also puts lots of dates, very precise. I’ve never read other books by Michael Phelps, and yes there are others.

“So many people along the way, whatever it is you aspire to do, will tell you it can’t be done. But all it takes is imagination. You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits” (back cover).
“I screamed. You bet I did. I mean, I totally let loose. I clenched my fist and arched my back and screamed and howled and yelled. And it felt good. So very good” (1).
I absolutely loved this book. It was of the best books I’ve ever read, and yes one reason it because it’s by Michael Phelps. I am also a swimmer so while reading this book I could relate to almost every part of it. From the water and land training to the moments where it all finally pays off and you have just proved what you can really do. I think it is a good book for anyone to read if you are a swimmer or athletic or not athletic at all. It can really be relatable to anyone who has ever had to put in hard work to accomplish something. It also gives you an insight to who Michael Phelps, the person, is.