I read this book a really long time ago for high school. What do I remember from it? Practically nothing. I do remember the end though, because that was just the cherry on the boring, ridiculous cake for me. I get it, it's supposed to be allegorical, and some great literature, but the thing about a lot of classics is that I find them to be incredibly boring. Maybe because I'm a 21st century person. Men who try to prove they are men by fighting the dragon don't impress me. Which reminds me, I was sorry for the poor fish. Back to the case in point. What is impressing to me is if a man shows that he can stand by me through thick and thin, not kill himself in something idiotic. I get that the Old Man is a lot like Hemingway, but I always thought of Hemingway as a bit of a dick. Maybe good at parties, and at a dinner discussion, but not the kind of man I'd get hot and bothered about.
Another thing why I don't like this book, and some other classics is that I don't really feel like the target audience. I'm female. I happen to be a practical person. I have to scream when I see people doing idiotic, fruitless, dangerous things. I can hardly stand to watch people smoke! So if I pulled up in a boat next to the Old Man, I would have first insulted him, then told him to just let the poor fish go and go home already.