The Old Man and the Sea: Story of a Common Man
Brenner summarizes the varied critical responses to the novella over the years, arguing against the simplified portrait of the dignified, benevolent, and noble hero. Rather, Brenner views Santiago as morally complex, noting a host of negative qualities that point to his flawed character, including his passive-aggressive and sexist behavior, and emotional abuse of Manolin, arising from his latent homosexual desire. Connects elements of the text, such as the bringing in of the great fish and the relationship between Santiago and Manolin, with professional and personal anxieties Hemingway was experiencing at the time of composition. Most helpful is Brenner’s overview of the important political and cultural currents of the period.