The Old Man and His Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Cuba, Ernest Hemingway's haven for writing literature, fishing for marlin and basking in it's tropical weather. Cuba played a key role in Hemingway's life and literature. He spent many days and nights writing famous lines and passages for his well known novels such as Old Man in the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls and Islands in the Stream.
Born Ernest Miller Hemingway on July 21, 1899, he was the sixth child of Dr. Clarence and Grace Hall Hemingway. He was named after his maternal grandfather Ernest Hall and his great uncle Miller Hall. His love for Cuba can be linked to his childhood summer home, which surrounded Lake Michigan, where his father taught him the skills of hunting and fishing. (Heritage in Cuba P. 1)
Hemingway first touched Cuban soil in route to Key West in 1928 with his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer. Hemingway's attraction to this small island was intense and immediate and there would be many trips to follow. Hemingway would eventually make Cuba one of his many homes. (Baker, 1969, P. 191)
His first real visit to Cuba came in 1932 on a planned fishing trip with his old friend Joe Russell, the owner of the famous "Sloppy Joe's" located in Key West. They arrived in Cuba aboard Russell's cabin cruiser, the Anita, for a "two week" vacation that lasted for over two months. Hemingway settled himself at the Ambos Mundos Hotel, a place that proved to be an ideal place to complete his novel A Way You'll Never Be. Even though writing was his first priority, Hemingway's love for the sport of marlin fishing was a constant competitor, the later would be his link to Cuba (P. 228) .
Ernest Hemingway often modeled his fictional characters after his close friends. Jane Mason, however, was more than just a close friend was; she was his lover and companion. Hemingway portrayed Jane in two of his novels, A Way You'll Never Be and Green Hills of Africa. Hemingway met Mason in Paris and later was reaquainted with her in Cuba. "Jane and her husband, Grant lived in some style at Jaimanitas, just west of Havana" (Baker, 1969, P. 228). Grant traveled frequently which gave Jane the freedom to have an affair with Ernest. (Meyers, 1985, P. 244) Jane loved drinking and fishing, two vices that were engaging to Hemingway. Their affair discontinued for a short time during which Pauline and Ernest would travel to Africa and Europe, but resumed promptly after their return in May 1934. (Baker, 1969, P. 246) "His bitter break with Jane in April 1936 made him all the more receptive to Martha Gellhorn." Martha would soon become Hemingway's third wife. (P. 256)
Hemingway's love for fishing and Cuba's surrounding water inspired him to purchase a custom built cruiser named Pilar, after the patron saint of Zaragoza. (P. 280) Toby Bruce was Hemingway's first mate and another example of a friend being portrayed in a novel. Bruce was the model for the character Santiago in The Old Man In The Sea....