Instructional Video

The Old Man and the Sea: Critical Interpretations

Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; however, the critical interpretations of the novel have called it everything from "ordinary" and "schoolboy writing" to a "masterpiece." Readers are allowed to weigh in on the debate by first examining a series of quotations from other authors and then taking their own stance using evidence from the novel and referring to information from a video that launches the lesson.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Before conducting the lesson instructors should read carefully the entire Teaching Guide linked in the Included Materials section of this review
Classroom Considerations
  • Part of the "Ken Burns in the Classroom Collection"
  • Clips are from Ken Burns' and Lynn Novick's documentary Hemingway
  • Part of the video is in Spanish with English subtitles
  • The video is designed to be used after readers have finished reading the novel 
  • Readers should also have a basic understanding of the themes of the novel
  • The video comes with a caution that it includes sensitive content; read the caution to determine how you will approach the topics with your classes
  • The lessons in the series have a point of view; instructors should preview all the lessons in the series to determine if appropriate for their classrooms
  • Requires copies of student materials
  • The packet includes support materials for teachers and pupils