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Although the literary community received The Old Man and the Sea with the highest accolades, many critics were disgruntled with one allegorical interpretation that targeted them. As the other fisherman did not understand Santiago and sometimes even mocked him, one can speculate that Hemingway felt the same way about his literary community. Critics damned his previous novel, Across the River and Into the Trees, as one of his worst works ever. This response from the literary community enraged Hemingway, who had told some friends that the novel was one of his best and favorite. Could The Old Man and the Sea been a source of revenge from the aging writer? Some critics suggest that the novel is simply an allegory of his life as a writer, with a thinly-veiled attack on the literary community as the vicious Mako and Hammerhead sharks that tear apart the fisherman's prized catch.
While living in Cuba in the early 1940s, Hemingway established a "crook factory," which consisted of six full-time operatives and 20 other agents. Their mission was to spy on pro-Franco and pro-Hitler factions in Cuba. Hemingway's operation was not too successful, however. Less than a year after it was formed, the crook factory was forcibly disbanded. Also while in Cuba, Hemingway wrote blood pressure counts, weight measurements, and other medical information on the bathroom walls of his house-he wanted to make sure he was in peak physical condition for his fishing expeditions.
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