Cover image for Understanding The old man and the sea : a student casebook to issues, sources, and historical documents
Understanding The old man and the sea : a student casebook to issues, sources, and historical documents
Valenti, Patricia Dunlavy, 1945-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xvi, 198 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3515.E37 O5295 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and specifically cited by the Swedish Academy when Hemingway received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, The Old Man and the Sea remains one of the author's most beloved works. This casebook helps readers interpret and appreciate the thematic concerns of the novel, as well as the contextual issues it explores.

Topic chapters provide information on Cuba, including its natural geography, sociopolitical history, and the ethnic background of its people. A wide variety of primary documents such as interviews and articles, along with charts and illustrations, establish a framework for interdisciplinary study.

One chapter with particular appeal to students deals with Hemingway's treatment of the ethos and issues of baseball and sports. Included are documents pertaining to the Cuban league, the legendary Joe DiMaggio, and a historical perspective of baseball offered by the Director of Research at the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame in an original interview conducted for this book. The casebook is completed with contemporary issues, suggestions for oral and written exploration of the novel, and suggested further readings.

Author Notes

PATRICIA DUNLAVY VALENTI is Professor in the Department of English, Theater, and Languages at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke. She is also coordinator of the Graduate Program in English Education there. Her primary area of scholarship is American Literature. Among her publications is To Myself a Stranger, A Biography of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (1991).

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-This series title explores Ernest Hemingway's classic novella with primary-source documents and from the Cuban socioeconomic and political viewpoints during the late '40s and early '50s. Chapters present background information that is crucial to understanding the book: plot, setting, character, point of view, writing style. Factors affecting Santiago, such as health, poverty, ethnic influences, and life in Cuba before Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, are discussed in detail. The chapter on sports includes a "1950 Major-League Baseball Chart," a discussion of Cuban-born athletes, periodical articles from the early '50s, and more. The last section deals with contemporary Cuba and how the current regime would have influenced Hemingway's book. Each chapter includes "Topics for Written or Oral Exploration." A few black-and-white illustrations are scattered throughout. A valuable resource.-Pat Bender, The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Thomas BarbourRobert P. WeeksHelen HallFidel CastroLudwig BemelmansNina Wilcox PutnamLudwig BemelmansAlejandro de la FuenteEnrique CanovaEnrique CanovaGigi AndersMarit MelhuusJoe WilliamsDan DanielMrs. Oliver C. GrinnellCaptain Rick GaffneyRay Trullinger
Introductionp. xi
1. A Literary Analysis of The Old Man and the Seap. 1
2. The Cuban Environment: Geography and Climate and the Living Organisms They Supportp. 25
from A Naturalist in Cuba (1945)p. 32
from Interview with Dr. Bonnie Kelley (26 June 2001)p. 34
from "Fakery in The Old Man and the Sea" (December 1962)p. 43
3. Cuban Historical, Political, and Economic Backgroundp. 53
from Interview with Dr. Arlyn Moeller (4 May 2000)p. 61
from "The Island Next Door" (February 1935)p. 67
from History Will Absolve Me (1953)p. 69
from "The Best Way to See Cuba" (1957)p. 72
from "Wealth in the Deep" (1953)p. 73
from "To Havana with the Fly by Night Club" (1947)p. 76
4. Cuban Culture: An Ethnic Backgroundp. 83
from "The Best Way to See Cuba" (1957)p. 94
from "Race and Inequality in Cuba, 1899-1981" (January 1995)p. 95
from "Cuba--The Isle of Romance" (1933)p. 102
from "Cuba: Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre" (28 February 2000)p. 104
from "Cuba--The Isle of Romance" (1933)p. 107
from "Machismo: Dead or Alive?" (March 1993)p. 112
from "Power, Value, and the Ambiguous Meaning of Gender" (1996)p. 114
5. Sportsp. 123
from "The Passing of Mr. McGraw, Maybe It's for the Best, Giants No Longer His Gang" (4 June 1932)p. 141
from "Play Ball, Amigos: When Yuba Plays Ball Down in Cuba, Anything Goes" (20 January 1951)p. 143
from "Sisler's Son Hitting Star in Havana" (29 January 1946)p. 147
from "'May Be My Last Year': DiMaggio" (3 March 1951)p. 148
from "Introduction" and "World Records" (1935)p. 152
from "Alfred Glassell's Legacy to Billfishing Transcends His 1,560-Pound Black Marlin World Record" (January 1998)p. 155
from "New Big Fish Club Is Organized, But It's Awfully Hard to Crash" (23 November 1936)p. 158
6. The Old Man and the Sea: Contemporary Issuesp. 165
from "Market Scene: Cubans Tasting Capitalism--But It's Just an Appetizer" (29 March 1994)p. 175
from "Cubans Resume Their Exodus by Boat Across Florida Strait" (22 October 1965)p. 178
from Interview with Tim Wiles (20 July 2001)p. 180
Indexp. 193