University warns students Old Man and the Sea contains graphic scenes

University warns woke students that Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel Old Man and the Sea contains graphic scenes… of FISHING

  • History and Literature students at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland have been warned the classic novel contains ‘graphic fishing scenes’ 
  • TV and film adaptions of the 1952 classic have been given U and PG certificates 
  • The university said content warnings allow students to make informed choices  

It is a story of one man’s heroic struggle against the elements and often viewed as a metaphor for life itself. But Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel The Old Man And The Sea is the latest victim of today’s woke standards, with students warned that it contains ‘graphic fishing scenes’.

Successive TV and film adaptations of the 1952 classic have been awarded U and PG certificates, suitable for children, but a content warning has been issued to History and Literature students at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland, an area renowned for its fishing industry.

Mary Dearborn, the author of Ernest Hemingway, A Biography, said: ‘This is nonsense. It blows my mind to think students might be encouraged to steer clear of the book.

Successive TV and film adaptations of the 1952 classic have been awarded U and PG certificates, suitable for children (Pictured Ernest Hemingway (L) with Spencer Tracy (R) 

‘The world is a violent place and it is counterproductive to pretend otherwise. Much of the violence in the story is rooted in the natural world. It is the law of nature.’

Jeremy Black, emeritus professor of history at the University of Exeter, added: ‘This is particularly stupid given the dependency of the economy of the Highlands and Islands on industries such as fishing and farming. 

‘Many great works of literature have included references to farming, fishing, whaling, or hunting. Is the university seriously suggesting all this literature is ringed with warnings?’

The content warning was revealed in documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday under Freedom of Information laws.

The novel tells the story of Santiago, an ageing fisherman who catches an 18ft marlin while sailing in his skiff off the coast of Cuba. 

Unable either to tie the giant fish to the back of the tiny vessel or haul it on board, he proceeds to hold the line for an unspecified number of days and nights. 

Despite suffering intense physical pain, Santiago feels compassion for the captured animal. Only when the fish begins to circle his craft does he reluctantly kill it, but he is then forced to fight with, and kill, several sharks intent on devouring the corpse.

The novel tells the story of Santiago, an ageing fisherman who catches an 18ft marlin while sailing in his skiff off the coast of Cuba

Fans of the novel believe Santiago’s battle with the forces of nature is a reference to Hemingway’s own struggles, while others have seen the story as a metaphor for Christianity

Santiago chastises himself for killing the marlin and tells the sharks they have killed his dreams, before eventually making it to shore.

Fans of the novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, believe Santiago’s battle with the forces of nature is a reference to Hemingway’s own struggles, while others have seen the story of bloodshed, endurance and sacrifice as a metaphor for Christianity.

The University of Highlands and Islands, made up of 13 research institutions and colleges, has issued content warnings for other classics. 

Students studying Homer’s The Iliad, written in the 8th Century BC, and Beowulf, an English poem penned around 1025 AD, are warned that they contain ‘scenes of violent close combat’.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is flagged because it contains ‘violent murder and cruelty’ and students studying Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Romeo And Juliet are warned that the plays contain scenes of ‘stabbing, poison and suicide’.

A University spokesman said: ‘Content warnings enable students to make informed choices.’

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