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The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway

Analysis: Genre

Literary Fiction, Quest

We could say "tragedy," but that would be misleading. Actually, it would be wrong, as far as we’re concerned. The ending isn’t really tragic (do you see a death or death wish here?), and there’s a reason this book doesn’t follow Booker’s tragedy plot: it’s not a tragedy. Tell that to the neighbors. Or write us an essay arguing that it is a tragedy.

As for the "quest" bit, we hesitated here, but then we were feeling bold so we decided to just go for it. The old man is questing to catch a fish, there are lots of obstacles in the way (the aching, excessive pain, excess), and we learn about the protagonist as he struggles to complete his goal.

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