The Old Man and the Sea
Hemingway’s Code Hero in The Old Man and the Sea. Traits & Definition
Ernest Hemingway, a modernist,the author of The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell To Arms, etc presents unique characters in each of his literature compositions. Referred to as the Hemingway code heroes, these characters portray stringently enforced laws of behavior, which allow them to live up to the richness of their lives. Hemingway sets a good illustration of code heroes. These are not people bearing occult powers or people campaigning for truth or justice.
To solve the misconception, Hemingway sets in with his The Old Man and the Sea, featuring Santiago, an aged angler and an epitome of code heroes. Santiago displays many code hero qualities, including the three essential code qualities of honor and integrity, grace under pressure, and determination to succeed.
Honor and Integrity
Santiago lives his life with honor and integrity. With this quality, he passes for a code hero, as the author illustrates. He is a man who knows well that respect is two-way traffic, and for him to be respected, he ought to respect others in return. However, according to him, it matters less whether he will gain respect by the end of the day.
All he knows is that he bears the obligation to respect people as well as their decisions. Though aged, he enjoys the company of the young boy, Manolin. On one fishing occasion, Manolin tells Santiago, “And the best fisherman is you…No I know others better” (23). This drives home the point that Santiago is a man of honor, not necessarily in the field of fishing, but in life in general.
He deserves credit as the boy puts it. In his struggle with the fish, Santiago, as Hemingway’s code hero in The Old Man and the Sea, utters words that point out his level of integrity. He respects and loves, not only people but also animals. ”Fish, I love you and respect you very much…But I will kill you dead before this day ends” (Hemingway 54).
In addition, he uplifts the dignity of all people, despite their differences. He symbolically says that all of them can fish to show how he respects their varied capabilities. Building on these deductions, it is inferable that honor and integrity form part of Santiago’s life as one of the main values.
Grace Under Pressure
Santiago displays grace under pressure when he tries to catch the marlin and get it back home. It costs him his time, energy, and a good deal of patience to make the catch. Although he finally makes a catch, it proves hard for him to draw it into the boat. However, he does not give up. His eyes are set only to his goal, a token of grace. In fact, as his hands and fingers ache because of his struggle to pull the marlin, “He rubbed the cramped hand against his trousers and tried to gentle the fingers” (Hemingway 60).
The gentling of the fingers is the sign of grace during the pressing situation of his hands. In another case, Santiago symbolically graces himself with the words, “But I must have the confidence, and I must be worthy of the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly even with the pain of the bone spur in his heel” (Hemingway 68).
He strives to imagine a day when he will be as great as DiMaggio, who is a famous baseball champion. He is his model, and therefore, even if pressed by life’s circumstances, as his fishing, he knows that he can pass for a great person. Thus, the author qualifies in developing the character of grace under pressure as possessed by code heroes like Santiago.
Determination to Succeed
According to Hemingway’s code hero definition, this is a person who possesses courage the determination to succeed, Although Santiago has not caught a fish for a very long time, he sails to the sea every day and is determined to succeed in the catching. Even after sailing far in the sea without making any catch, he never gives up. “Everything about him was old except his eyes, and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated” (Hemingway 49). His wide-open and cheerful eyes in his old age show how he is determined to live and not to die.
When he catches the huge marlin fish, it pulls him for three consecutive days and nights, but Santiago does not let go of it. In addition, the blood that the fish smears on the seawaters attracts other predators that fight to take the fish from the hands of Santiago. In response, he fights them back, killing as many of them as possible.
In the process, he says, “I’ll fight them until I die” (Hemingway 115), words that reveal his determination to succeed in taking the fish off the sea. In his claim, “…a man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated” (Hemingway 103), which is no more than a sign of his determination. Therefore, Santiago bears the code hero characteristic feature of being determined to succeed.
Santiago has the important code hero traits of honor and integrity, grace under pressure, and determination to succeed. Hemingway qualifies in defining a code hero.
Technically, he drives away the prevailing misconception about code heroes. The aged angler carries the day through the way he stands as an illustration of code heroes. Though aged, he stands out as a man of honor and integrity. He owes respect and love to all, whether young or old.
Moreover, as an angler and considering the struggles he encounters, he pictures grace in every pressing situation that comes his way. He manifests his determination to succeed when he decides never to let go of the marlin despite the other fish, which try to pull it out of his hands. To sum up, He exemplifies a Hemingway code hero.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005. Print.
The Old Man and the Sea Research Paper
This paper delves into the concept of the story “The Old Man and the Sea” being connected to man’s fight against old age and time.
When examining the story “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway, readers would be hard pressed to find a single theme that can be considered as the main point of the novel. For example, it can be stated that the novel delves into the concept of the desire for acceptance as exemplified by the character of Santiago who was a Spaniard trying to integrate himself into the local culture of Cuba (Hemingway, 1952).
On the other end of the spectrum it could also be stated that the novel itself delves into the philosophical and the metaphysical as exemplified by the scenes wherein Santiago considered the marlin as a brother or when he delved into a distinct introspection about his life and how he got to where he was.
It can also be stated that the novel itself has distinct religious overtones as evidenced by Santiago’s reference to the crucifixion in the scene where the sharks came to eat the body of the marlin. Yet, despite the sheer amount of possible references, it is the belief of the reader that this novel delves into the way in which the concept of man fights against the inevitable passage of time.
Man and Time
When examining the novel there are several pivotal scenes that exemplify the concept of man fight against time, these are:
a.) Santiago’s fight with the Marlin
b.) His desire to end his unlucky streak
c.) His stubbornness to simply not cut the line
d.) Refusing to show his illness to Manolin.
The events can be considered as character traits that many among the elderly possess wherein they attempt to fight against time. For example the stubbornness of Santiago to not cut the line is the same type of stubbornness seen by many of those with advanced ages wherein they refuse to give up certain activities despite the health risk involved. Refusing to show signs of illness is also a trait shared by Santiago and the elderly as well as the desire to end “their unlucky streaks” by accomplishing new activities.
What must be understood is that while the age of Santiago is not outright stated, it can be seen within the novel that he has advanced considerably in age. The fact that he has not been able to catch fish is more likely due to his advanced age hampering his capabilities rather than through bad luck. It is based on this that his desire to end his unlucky streak is actually his desire to actively pursue activities that his advanced age would otherwise not permit.
Thus, Santiago’s fight against the marlin is actually symbolic of how the some people fight against the passage of time. His stubbornness, determination and unwillingness to give up are all aspects shared by people in similar positions. This can be seen right till the end wherein Santiago refused to let Manolin know of his illness. In the end it can be assumed that Santiago, like all others before him, lost his battle with time and died, stubborn till the end.
Overall, it can be stated that this story was one that delved into the concept of man and time and how people stubbornly refuse to give in to the passage of time till the bitter end.
Hemingway, E. (1952). The old man and the sea. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
The Old Man and the Sea Essay (Book Review)
“The Old Man and the Sea” is a story of a modest old man and his struggle for the greatness. The plot is based on life of Santiago, an elderly Cuban fisherman who is unlucky in his fishing escapades. He is so unlucky that parents of a young boy Manolin, who wanted to fish with an old man and learn the skills from him, forbid him doing this and ask to sail with more successful young sailors.
The author was on the ground of the World War I, and a casualty of the war may be seen as the reason behind the choice of themes. Bravery, courage, pride and honor are virtues that many survivors of the war possessed. Santiago’s move to set out to sea all alone in order to redeem his reputation among his people is a bold move (Hemingway 22).
However, Hemmingway, the author, describes the boy as the one who admires the old man despite his parents discourage him from joining Santiago in his fishing, he still continues to care for the old man. This essay seeks to make a detailed review of the story, “The Old Man and the Sea”, its themes and relations to the real world.
The plot brings out the boy as being very caring. He is shown in the way he helps the fisherman to carry his fishing gear and discussing the latest happenings in the American baseball. Despite the old man’s unsuccessful fishing trips, the book portrays him as having a strong determination to achieve his aim.
In a highly sequential flow of events, the book explains how Santiago sails further away from familiar territory and ventures into the Gulf Stream. The author goes ahead to explain how the old man gets lucky and catches a big fish known as Marlin at midday. However, in a twist to the story, Santiago is unable to pull the gigantic animal to his boat, and the fish starts pulling.
The story shows the reader an image of an enduring man who is overcome by fear trying to save his life by all means. It is presented when Santiago struggles to bear the strain of the line hooking the massive fish with his shoulders. He does this in order to avoid tearing the boat apart and tries to hook on it. The story explains how an old man pulls the line for three days as the fish swims with the old man enduring this pain (Hemingway 40).
In this day to day sequence of events, Santiago is presented to the reader as an affectionate man who, despite the strain that the fish is putting him through, sees it as a brother in endurance, suffering, strength and resolve. Testimony to this, (the way Santiago feels it); the people who are going to eat this fish are not entitled to such greatness.
It is on the third day that we see Santiago is getting his catch into the boat finally. It is the evidence of Santiago’s endurance and determination because, according to the story, this is the biggest fish that Santiago has ever caught after number of unsuccessful trials (Bloom, 150).
In addition, the story brings out the anti-climax of Santiago’s happiness. It explains how Santiago struggles with the attacks of sharks that were attracted by the blood trails left from the fish. Hemmingway creates an image of a boat deep in the sea surrounded by sharks in the mind of the reader.
This is where the courage of the old man is brought out. He is seen trying to deter the Sharks from attacking him by all possible means. For example, he fights them with a spear made by lashing a dagger to an oar and beating them up with the boats filler (Gerry 80).
The old man’s courage and creativity are paid back as he manages to kill several sharks. However, he is left with nothing, as sharks manage to devour his catch leaving him with a skeleton, head and a tail. The man regrets his decision to go out far into the sea. He stumbles back home completely worn out and goes to sleep (Hemingway 20).
Despite loosing the fish, the old man achieves greatness without realizing it. The reader understands this when reading about tourists who watch a giant Skeleton with amusement the following morning.
Two themes can be brought out from this story. The first one is the theme of honor. Throughout the story, Santiago is shown as a person swimming against the tide trying not to be defeated. He is shown as a person who is struggling with the power of the sea without catching any fish for eighty seven days, but breaks his record by catching the largest fish ever caught in all his years of fishing.
He is seen as fighting defeat by sailing into deep waters; he is struggling with a marlin for three days, and fights off shark attacks. This theme shows that Santiago and Marlin display virtues of courage and strong will, and they are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to uphold them. Santiago’s story does not provides him with the opportunity to change man’s place in the world, rather it enables him meet his most dignified destiny (Hemingway, 40).
The other theme discussed in this story is the theme of pride as the source of greatness and determination. Santiago’s character is created similar to all heroes of the world. In addition to coming out as strong, courageous and morally certain, they all possess a fatal flaw and pride. This leads to their downfall despite all the admiration that they receive.
Santiago, on the other hand, is portrayed as being proof that it is pride that pushes great men towards greatness. For example, Santiago admits to killing Marlin out of pride. Thus, pride becomes the source of Santiago’s strength. Without this pride, he would neither have ventured deep into the sea, nor would he have struggled with the giant fish for three consecutive days. Pride drives the old man to transcend the forces of nature and come out triumphant (Gerry 50).
In conclusion, it can be argued that this book tries to explain human nature. It explains that we are beings who, in most cases, are driven by pride while trying to achieve our goals in life. In addition, it tries to bring out the fact that pride does not always lead to downfall. Hemmingway illustrates that victory is not always a qualification for honor. It is brought about when one has the pride to struggle until the very end. In the case of Santiago, the glory and pride come not as a result of battle, but from his pride and determination to fight.
Bloom, Harold. Earnest Hemingway’s the Old Man and Sea. New York: InfoBase publishing, 2008. Print.
Gerry, Brenner. The Old Man and the Sea: Story of a Common Man. Michigan: University of Michigan, 1991. Print.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002. Print.
Don Quixote Comparison to Movie “The Old Man and the Sea” Essay
The film The Old Man and the Sea was based on a short novel authored by, Ernest Hemingways. Although the original story was quite short for a movie, it did not stop John Sturges and the protagonist Spencer Tracy from cinematizing it.
This was mainly due to their excellence in that field, having had a vast experience in film making and acting. The story revolves around an old man with his ally, a young boy, a helper.
Most of his numerous years were lived on fishing. He is 84 years old and has experienced the most mean of times in his life with no catch at sea for several months.
This, however, does not stop him from visiting the sea for fish, even though people increasingly discourage him; the younger ones are thinking he is cursed, while the older sympathizing. This is the situation that he allows his boy to seek a job on other boats.
One day, he manages to catch a fish; however, using some evil design, he is attacked by sharks and enforced to fight until the end. The results are not as successful as he expected to get: he returns home with a huge skeleton of the fish he caught and has nothing to do but continue dreaming.
Don Quixote is a novel authored by Miguel de Cervantes; it revolves around an aged man known as Alonso Quixano.
He is portrayed as a retired person who loves reading chivalry books which are “with enchantments, with quarrels, battles, challenges, wounds, amorous plaints, loves, torments, and follies impossible” (Cervantes 3). His setting is in La Mancha. He lives with both his niece and a housekeeper.
He becomes obsessed with his chivalry books and ends up believing every word in them. This gradually transpires into his day-to-day life as he loses his mind, or at least to his neighbors.
This is mainly because most of his new beliefs from chivalry are fictions and therefore practically unrealistic. This obsession sets him into quests, seeking for that which is only understood by him, unrealistic imaginations from chivalry novels.
Through his work, he acquires a friend and several enemies in Sancho Panza and traders from Toledo. His obsessed life is full of intrigues and dramas, with deception coming out as one of the paramount themes.
He plots two unfruitful escapes to pursue his obsessions and eventually comes back home with his friend from a failed mission, tired and in a great melancholy. He renounces chivalry with renewed restoration but continues in melancholy.
It ends in a sad note, as the protagonist dies, broken and sane.
Both stories, The Old Man and the Sea and Don Quixote have a number of common features as they are based on all those characteristics inherent to men who are challenged the world they live in; the conditions under which the characters live to make them put in a question the reality and everything they have to believe in; in this paper, a comparison of two characters from different stories will be developed to prove how life may play tricks with people who fall in love with it.
Common features in both The Old Man and the Sea and Don Quixote
Several features are portrayed in both stories, starting with the setting, Quixano is said to stay in La Mancha, but the exact place is not given.
This is same with the old man’s tiny house, only referred to as a hovel, they are peasants, living among peasants and face the challenges of poverty, and they struggle to make something out of it.
The two characters are in pursuit of something throughout the story. While Quixote seeks an imaginary life read from a book of chivalry, the old man keeps his faith in one day returning to winning ways in terms of catching more fish.
Even through scorns and massive discouragements are experienced, as seen from neighbors, this does not stop them.
Another feature that is quite common in the society set up is connected with the fact that the events which happen to Don Quixote take place in Spain, while the old man lives in Mexico.
These two places share several features and cultural interactions, which in turn could be thought to influence the theme of these stories. Pretentious happenings in the story of the old man as well as deception portrayed in Don Quixote’s story are considered to be integral.
It is also quite important to note that in both settings, people are poor, and suffers from the peasantry, as they do not get enough, even to eat.
This is how the authors make us, the readers, “augment our identity and refresh our stale store of experience in the act of surrendering to fictional lives far more intensely” (Gilman 8).
The characters have loyal allies, in the case of Don Quixote, it is Panza, while for the old man has the boy. They seem to follow their own will, and no one controls them.
In both cases there seem to be something out of reach that they seek, Quixote follows fictions in chivalry, while the old man follows his ‘dreams of lions’.
Quixote seems burrowed in books, his novels, which link him to chivalry fictions. These books are considered to be the main evil sources which promote the wrong perception of reality and inabilities to tough with reality (Allen 37).
Sancho-Esque and Quixotic Characters
Quixotism is the act of believing in unrealistic ideals; it may also be referred to as over-idealism, those who believe in ideas beyond facts and reality, this moves them to adventurous episodes, which in most cases fail.
This element is considerably bold in the two stories, with Don Quixote displaying it in most characters.
There is a clear elaboration of Quixote’s quixotic ideas, which seems to possess him; other characters are also caught up in this, thereby unraveling several intriguing events, which are quite unrealistic even to the neighborhood (Bloom 4).
Several characters display quixotism in the whole passage and both stories. Chief among them is Don Quixote, who becomes over-idealistic in his beliefs on chivalry; he shows no regard for reality and ends up seeking what is ideal and unrealistic.
This could also be seen in the old man’s fight with sharks for fish, carrying a skeleton of fish is quite unrealistic of a man of vast experience in fishing. These ideas are shared with other characters in the stories such as Panza, who keeps fighting to retain quixotic-ego even after his influencer.
In The Old Man and the Sea, the boy adds an element of quixotism to the man and helps him fight against all odd which take place around.
Sancho, an ally of Don, is a clear example of other characters whose interactions with the protagonist, gradually shapes into quixotic characters.
This is well elaborated in their return after the second quest where, Sancho tries to reinstate his faith, even moving further to re-ignite Quixano’s quixotism.
This is also conveyed when he goes in search for Dulcinea, Quixote’s ladylove, but comes up with three peasant girls. He even gets an imaginary governorship, proving more of his quixotic nature.
Other characters conveying Quixote element in the passage include the innkeeper who meets Quixote during his first quest for adventure. The innkeeper is said to dub him a knight just as Quixote had done to him.
The three girls brought to Quixote as his lover and her house cleaners also seem to portray a similar character; they come in as impersonators with illusions and over-idealism.
The element of deception that is brought by the secondary characters also helps to grasp the idea of live preferred by the characters.
Motivation for characters
In exploring Don Quixote, it is clear that his motivation is driven by his need to live a better life; it seems like he hates his current situation and wants an adventurous life that seems so interesting to the extent of obsession to him.
When he reads chivalry and keeps re-reading, he tries to convince himself that such a life is possible, this motivates him, and the thought of an adventurous quest further compounds the matter.
He, therefore, keeps with his motivation. Similarly, even though Sancho looks dull and manipulate, he later gains motivation and seeks quixotic renewal, although this fails.
In the old man’s story, he keeps the fight even amidst fierce challenges which include discouragements, realities on the ground as well as the sharks; he keeps dreaming.
Without considering all those doubts which appear in the lives of characters, the boy remains to be loyal to the man as well as Panza believes in Don Quixote.
Quest for the characters
Cervantes’ story covers a protagonist who is obsessed with chivalry and their lifestyles, he, therefore, escapes twice in search of such a world, but the reality comes back when he fails. Even though the failure seems expected, his quest is quite strong; the urge pushes him.
This is the same as the old man who explores his knight-errant in the sea, fighting to keep his fish against equally handy sharks, he also fails, but the hope is not lost. This is portrayed in his carriage of a skeleton of fish and dreams of loins.
These quests are also dissimilar in that, Quixote seeks a fiction, something unreal, while the old man seeks something real, he has been fishing his whole life, he seeks what he knows better, something he has spent his whole life and experience doing.
The two stories are similar in their settings, and their character’s personality in seeking their missions, this is seen in Quixote’s unrivaled quest for chivalry life, similar to old man’s quest for fish even in times of scarcity.
They both go out of their ways to find their needs, even though luck is notwithstanding.
In terms of what is sought, it is quite ironical and to some extent unrealistic in both cases, for the sea and nature to be so unfair to the old man, and a retired gentleman to turn mad, chasing the wind, all because of a library of books read.
The stories, therefore, contain elements of fiction, deception, pretentiousness, among others. These stories are admirably adapted, classic and consuming as they portray the lives of common people in the traditional society, featuring Spanish life and Mexican that are quite close given their interaction.
Allen, John. Don Quixote: Hero or Fool? Part II. Gainesville: University of Florida, 1979.
Bloom, Harold (Ed.) Cervantes’s Don Quixote. Modern Critical Interpretations. Chelsea House Publishers. 2000.07. 10. 2010.
Cervantes, Miguel. Don Quixote de la Mancha. BilbioBazaar, 2008.
Gilman, Stephen. The Novel According to Cervantes. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.
Santiago and the Marlin
Ernest Hemingway is one of the best authors at using symbolism in his books. Santiago is an old fisherman who fishes out of a small Cuban village in the 1940’s. Santiago has fished for a living his whole life and the past 84 days he has not caught a thing.
85 is his lucky number, so on the 85th day he thinks he will catch something. Sure enough he hooks up with a massive marlin and spends 3 long days fighting it. Hemingway portrays interesting symbolism between Santiago, the old fisherman, and the marlin that he catches. In Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea, the great marlin symbolizes Santiago in many ways.
Being old and wise is one of the many themes that Hemingway develops in this novel as he compares the marlin and Santiago. “Like an athlete he forces himself to eat and sleep, although he likes neither” (Wittowski). Santiago doesn’t want to waste his time eating or sleeping, but he knows that both are essential for his success at catching the marlin. Santiago is an old man, but along with age, comes wisdom and experience. “I may not be as strong as I think…But I know many tricks and I have resolutions” (Hemingway 23). We all probably think we are smarter than what we truly are.
In the battle for his life, the marlin puts up a strong fight. Like Santiago, he too seems to be old and wise. “The big fish refuses to surface and begins to swim out to sea, towing the skiff behind it” (Napierkoski 197). The marlin seems to know that it must stay below the surface of the water if it wants to survive. Hemingway suggests that the marlin knows this because, like Santiago, the marlin is also old and wise. Over the years, Santiago learned many lessons. The gigantic marlin obviously must have learned many things too, as he had survived this long without being caught by a fisherman. Never have I had such a strong fish nor one who acted so strangely. Perhaps he is to wise to jump. He could ruin me by jumping or a wild rush. But perhaps he has been hooked many times before and he knows that this is how he should make his fight” (Hemingway 42). Throughout the novel, it is reinforced that Santiago is a good man. Even as he battles the marlin, he is fair. Like friends, there seems to be a mutual respect between Santiago and the marlin. “It is part of the ritual of the fighter that opponents demonstrate good friendship at every opportunity” (Wittowski). He is tiring or he is resting,” the old man said (Hemingway 62). It is not only a fight, but a game between Santiago and the marlin. This quote demonstrates that Santiago is wondering what the marlin is up to. Again, he respects how smart the marlin is and he is enjoying the challenge of out smarting him. Hemingway also uses symbolism as he describes the physical appearance of Santiago. “They were strange shoulders, still powerful although very old, and the neck was still strong too and the creases did not show so much when the old man was asleep and his head fallen forward” (Hemingway 19).
Hemingway suggests that although Santiago looked old, he is still young and strong at heart. Hemingway also vividly describes the marlin. “The fish came alive with his death in him, and rose out of the water showing all his great length and width and all his power and his beauty” (Hemingway 71). As he fought for his survival, the marlin jumped out of the water. Hemingway suggested that the fish was showing off, as if the fish was proud of his own beauty and size. Santiago grew a fondness for the marlin during his fight to land him. He respected the marlin.
Thus, once the fish finally died, Santiago actually felt guilty. “After the sharks have begun to mutilate the carcass of the marlin, Santiago expresses his sorrow at having killed the marlin; he has gone out too far from shore” (Wittowski). Santiago had won the battle with the fish, but he was sad to watch the sharks mutilate the marlin because they were also, slowly but surely, mutilating him. Hemingway reiterates through out the story how much Santiago admired the beauty and size of the marlin. “…the fish swam just below the surface; the old man could see his huge bulk and his purple stripes…” (Hemingway 68).
This is another example of that determination they both have. Santiago and the marlin were both survivors. Despite his many trials in life, he continued to be mentally positive and strong. Hemingway symbolizes this strength of character when he compares Santiago’s shirt to the sail. “His shirt has been patched so many times that it was like the sail and the patches were faded to many different shades by the sun” (Hemingway 19). Santiago is old and worn out like the sail, but he is also wise. He continues to face life’s many challenges, just as the patched sail continues to do its’ job.
The marlin and Santiago are not only old, wise and look alike, but they also are both strong, determined and persevere. “His body is old but still strong, and he maintains his grip on the line despite his age and increasing discomfort” (Napierkoski 197). This quote portrays Santiago’s physical strength despite his age, and his strong will. Regardless of his discomfort, Santiago showed perseverance. “He took all his pain and what was left of his strength and his long gone pride and he put that against the fights agony” (Hemingway 70).
Santiago wasn’t going to give up to the fish and the fish wasn’t going to give up to Santiago. “But the fish kept on circling slowly and the old man was wet with sweat and tired deep into his bones two hours later” (Hemingway 66). These words paint a vivid picture. Deep sea fisherman will tell how even fish a fraction of the size of the marlin Santiago is fighting are very strong and determined to fight as long and as hard as they can to survive. Santiago was determined to out last the fish, just like the marlin was determined to survive. His perseverance and will power allowed him to keep holding on.
Santiago was all alone fighting the marlin. He could not rely on the strength of his young friend, Manolin. “Without the boy to help him, he knows that either he or the fish will die from this” (Napierkoski 197). It was strictly a battle between he and the fish, and only one of them would survive. Hemingway demonstrates Santiago’s perseverance as well as the marlin’s perseverance when he writes “…settled himself against the rounded planks of the bow and felt the strength of the great fish through the line he held across his shoulders moving steadily toward whatever he had chosen” (Hemingway 43).
The marlin was settling himself in for a long fight and Santiago was preparing for the same. Regardless of what each other chose to do, they would both be ready. The symbolism between the marlin and Santiago is endless in Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea. The symbolism shows how the marlin resembles Santiago because they are both old, wise, persevere and they’re appearance is alike. Hemingway did a great job showing they’re resemblance and is definitely one of the best authors at using symbolism throughout his books.
The Old Man and the Sea and The Martian by Andy Weir
Imagine being stranded on a world alien to your own, unknown which direction you are facing, how long until the night falls, wondering if you will ever make it home to see your family again. One of the most fascinating human characteristics is the way we operate in Isolation. In both Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and Andy Weir’s The Martian, the protagonists are stranded in places foreign of their own.
However, isolation in the middle of the ocean is a whole different ball-game to interplanetary isolation. Both Santiago and astronaut Mark Watney struggle through their hardships and become triumphant, never yielding to the insurmountable forces of nature despite their desolation. In The Martian, we watch as the brave botanist Mark Watney is stranded along on Mars, forcefully separated from everything and everyone that he holds dear. The planet Mars isn’t the most terrifying aspect of his predicament, it’s his crippling loneliness. Mars is a barren wasteland and I am completely alone here. I already knew that, of course. But there’s a difference between knowing it and really experiencing it (Weir 101).When Mark leaves the Martian Habitat to go out on the surface, he gets a brutal reminder of how isolated he truly is.
The Hab provides a level of comfort the presence of this man-made structure reminds him that his home is somewhere upon the orange hue of the Martian atmosphere. Mark’s isolation causes him to feel a bit crazy, and other times a bit hopeless, other times wishing he had a volleyball as a best friend. As we watch Mark endure these difficulties and suppress these dark feelings, a lot can be learned about how he copes with the powerful effects of isolation in comparison to Santiago. Mark’s situation is quite a but like Santiago’s, however in the old fisherman’s case, he is forced into isolation amongst his peers. He struggles with his loneliness, but distracts himself with tasks and catching the marlin. His choice had been to stay in the deep dark water far out beyond all snares and traps and treacheries. My choice was to go there to find him beyond all people. Beyond all people in the world (Hemingway 96). Santiago spent most of his life isolated from people, especially out in the deep blue. In fact, his isolation defines who is is, despite being a weakness.
However, his loneliness becomes a key element in his battle with the marlin. The theme of isolation is prevalent in both of these novels. In most stories, loneliness gives the reader a sense of urgency and impact for the stakes that the story sets up. Even though Mark Watney is a peppy, proactive character there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that being stranded totally alone on a planet 140 million miles from home is not the most ideal of situations. To make up for this, however, Mark uses his intellect and wit in order to keep his sanity while Santiago uses pure strength and endurance to accomplish his goal. This will kill him, the old man thought. He can’t do this forever. But four hours later the fish was still swimming steadily out to sea, towing the skiff, and the old man was still braced solidly with the line across his back (Hemingway 80). Santiago’s battle with the fish isn’t just a battle of strength-It’s a battle of wills. We can connect Santiago with the marlin because their endurance match each other, sharing a determination which ultimately separates man from creature.
Similarly, Mark’s perseverance is what keeps him alive. Mark uses his shrewdness to his advantage, taking the seriousness of the situation and turning into a learning experience. Sirius 1 was aborted after one hour. I guess you could call it a ‘failure,’ but I prefer the term ‘learning experience,’ (Weir 68). Mark’s mission on Mars is exciting, he can’t expect to do everything right on the first try. He keeps trying and is eventually successful; one of his more honorable traits. Both Santiago and Mark Watney show a connection through their endurance. They both, however, see their situations in a different light. Their vision of becoming something bigger than themselves is what drives them to continue on, even though it may be hard in isolation when giving up is just as easy. In The Martian and The Old Man and the Sea, the theme of Isolation is prevalent between the two works. Throughout the stories, we see the way Mark Watney and Santiago handle their loneliness, and how perseverance is a key role in doing so.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. Scribner, 1952. Weir, Andy. The Martian. Ebury Digital, 2016.
Christian Symbolism: the Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea may seem like a shallow book on its face level, but many extensive themes are evident throughout the book. Specifically, Christian Symbolism is apparent throughout. These are the themes displayed in my artwork, which shows Santiago as a Christ-Like figure. This is because he persevered through pain and suffering, and turned it into reward and victory, just how Jesus went through pain on the cross, but renewed his life and won. These themes are initially evident in the book during his struggle with the fish.
First, while the old man is fighting the marlin, his hands are cut by the fishing line. The cuts not only symbolize the wounds on Jesus’ hands while he was on the cross, but how he went through pain and suffering in his crucifixion. Santiago is a direct portrayal of Jesus and his suffering. The old man is willing to suffer and maybe even sacrifice his own life, just how Jesus was willing to do the same. Also during the fight, on page 107, Hemingway describes a noise Santiago has made, Just a noise such as a man might make, involuntarily, feeling the nail go through his hands and into the woods” (107). This is a direct association of Santiago and Jesus Christ. This quote relates to how Jesus’ hands were nailed to the cross, and a sound he might have made when nails were driven through his hands into the wood.
Another example of Santiago being a Christ life figure is how he carried the mast of his ship up the hill and back home. This alludes to Jesus’ walk towards Calvary with the cross on his back. Also, towards the very end of the book, when Santiago lays down on his bed, Hemingway describes him laying down face down with his arms out and his palms/hands up. This evokes a picture of how Jesus Christ was suffering on the cross. He does this to even further link Santiago to Jesus. The whole story draws similarities between the two, where they both turn pain and loss into benefits and victory. Because of how often they relate, I chose to draw Santiago as Jesus to show this connection and how Hemmingway relies on this symbolism as a major overarching theme in the book. The parallels between the two drive how the old man is willing to sacrifice for the greater good, and the praise that comes from this sacrifice. He matches the two to relate to how Jesus sacrificed himself for the greater good of man. This connection also develops other, more face value, themes that Jesus and Santiago both show.
Santiago being a Christ like figure plays into the theme of perseverance. You must go through some discomfort and a fight to yield rewards. Persevering and sticking through hardships results in rewards. Both Jesus and Santiago went through tough times but eventually their struggles bore fruits. In Santiago’s case, the strenuous fight with the marlin shows this because he eventually killed the fish and ended his fishing drought. Also, the book shows how skill of mind is more important than brawn. Jesus didn’t actually fight people with his hands in wars, he used his knowledge of God and stories to gain followers and baptize people.
Santiago did the same where his knowledge and experience of the sea makes up for his weak self (being an old man). He may not have been able to finish the fish if he didn’t have knowledge of the oceans and fishing. Santiago won by outsmarting the fish, rather than trying to forcibly and physically beat it. Both used their minds and knowledge more, rather than their physical strength to do their work. It again shows how the mind is more important than physical strength. Santiago is symbolized as a christ figure throughout the novel, both Jesus and Santiago were fixed to their faith in times of uncertainty and suffering. Santiago is meant to symbolize Christ, his teachings, and his struggles during his crucifixion. All of these reasons relate to the connection between Jesus and Santiago, and it is why Jesus was drawn in the art, to show this relationship.
The Old Man and the Sea Essay Rough Draft
- 1 Introduction
- 2 ALLEGORY
- 3 PROVING YOURSELF
- 4 MANOLIN, THE OLD MAN, AND THE FISHERMAN
- 5 FISHING TRIP
- 6 Works Cited
People have different interpretations of The Old Man and the Sea. Some may believe Santiago’s trip was worth it while others may disagree. In The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway provides his readers with an allegory that illustrates the path to earned respect.
An allegory is a story, poem or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. This book has many hidden meanings and symbols. The sharks, fish, and skeleton are just a few of the symbols used in this book. Each symbol is a representation of something in Hemingway’s life.
Santiago’s fishing trips relate to Hemingway’s life in many ways. For example, Hemingway went about ten years without writing a successful novel (Clint Kalbach 1). In the novel The Old Man and the Sea, the 84 days that Santiago went without catching a fish represents the ten years that Hemingway’s went without writing a successful novel. Both the old man and Hemingway went through a period with some failures, but they overcame these hard times and succeeded.
The sharks represent the literary critics of Hemingway’s book. In The Old Man and The Sea, the sharks tore apart the marlin. The sharks leave Santiago with nothing but the stripped carcass of his hollow victory (Sean M. Donnell 7). This can relate to how the critics tore apart Hemingway’s book. The Marlin was a great accomplishment for Santiago, just as Hemingway’s novels were accomplishments to him.
Santiago proved his strength by going far out and catching the marlin. He had not caught a fish in 84 days (Hemingway 3) Many people believed he wasn’t a good fisherman anymore due to his old age and weakness. However, Santiago proved his strength when he returned from his fishing trip with the skeleton of the marlin he had caught. He caught the marlin by being patient and not giving up. During his trip, he endured significant amounts of pain and faced many challenges that tested his strength. He could feel the steady hard pull of the line and his left hand was cramped. It drew up tight on the heavy cord and he looked at it in disgust.(Hemingway 26). This is just one of the challenges he faced, after he caught the marlin, sharks came and attacked. They tore the marlin apart, and Santiago fought as much as he was physically able to. Although the only thing left of the marlin was the skeleton and the head, he proved to everyone that he was strong enough to be a great fisherman despite his age.
MANOLIN, THE OLD MAN, AND THE FISHERMAN
At the beginning of the novel, the other fishermen had little respect for Santiago. They believed that since he had not been successful for 84 days, he would not be successful in the future. Even Manolin’s parents did not believe Santiago would ever be a good fisherman again. After 40 days without catching a fish, Manolin’s parents would not let him fish with Santiago anymore. This did not stop the boy though, he was the only one there for the old man and possibly the only one that truly believed he was still a great fisherman. When Santiago refuses to fish with Manolin because of his own lack of luck, the boy says he will bring the luck(Saeed Momtazi M.D. 8&9). At the end of The Old Man and the Sea, when Santiago brings the marlin’s skeleton back from his fishing trip, the other fishermen have more respect for him. They see he is still capable of being a fisherman. Now that they see this they know that he is not just a weak old man, he is a brave and strong man.
Manolin and Santiago have a unique relationship. They take care and are always there for one another. While Santiago took care of Manolin on the water by teaching him how to fish, Manolin takes care of Santiago on land by, for example, making sure the old man eats.(Saeed Momtazi M.D. 2). The old man taught Manolin how to fish at a young age and earned his respect. He takes the boy out fishing whenever the boy is allowed. In return, the boy takes care of the old man by bringing his sardines to make sure he has something to eat.
Santiago’s fishing trip was definitely worth it. There are many reasons why this statement is true. Before the trip, he had no respect from others. By the end of the novel, everyone respected him and they realized how capable he was the whole time. While he was on the trip, he proved to himself that he was still a great fisherman. He doubted himself a few times and wished for the boy to be there many times. He had to eat raw fish and stretch his one bottle of water out to last him his entire fishing trip. His hand and back were wounded from holding the line for so long, and he did not sleep much. Despite all this, he gained admiration from others and brought home the marlin’s skeleton to show he had succeeded. If Santiago would not have gone so far out to fish, he might not have caught a marlin. He would not have gotten the other fishermen’s respect, and he would still be looked at as just a weak, old man.
Conclusion: In the Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway uses allegory to and symbols to give the readers a message about life. This novel shows that the only thing you need to succeed is to have faith in yourself and be brave. Believing in yourself allows you to achieve your goals in life.
Donnell, Sean M. The Old Man and the Sea: Hemingway’s Dialectic of Imagery. 2002.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. Macmillan Pub. Co., 1980.
Kalbach, Clint. A Biographical Analysis of The Old Man and the Sea. LEGACY, 2018, www.racc.edu/sites/default/files/imported/StudentLife/Clubs/Legacy/vol_1/Biographical.html.
Momtazi, Saeed. Destroyed but Not Defeated: Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea : A Psychotherapeutic Story. History of Science – Bibliography – Pseudo-Science & the Occult – Dr Robert A. Hatch, 2003, clas.ufl.edu/ipsa/2003/hemingway%20T.O.and%20T.S.html.
"The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway
Concealing the pain and suffering can be necessary to define true power and character. Hemingway’s interpretation of Santiago in the novella The Old Man and the Sea can be seen as a comparison to Christ and his struggles through excruciating treatment and crucifixion. The portrayal of Santiago as a Christ figure reflects the importance of inner strength to overcome challenges.
The mast of Santiago’s skiff can be recognized as Christ’s cross he carried to his crucifixion, posing a challenge to the feeble old man who consistently concealed his pain to create a tough shell. The old man carried the mast on his shoulder, (Hemingway 15), relating to Christ hauling the cross on his shoulder to his forthcoming demise- a reflection of Santiago beginning his soon-to-be dreadful expedition. Santiago arrived back in his town and had to sit down five times before he reached his shack, (Hemingway 121) emphasizing the absolute exhaustion of Santiago after his physical deterioration from reeling in the marlin and battling the sharks. Santiago started to climb again and at the top he fell and lay for some time with the mast across his shoulder, (Hemingway 121), characterizing him as one who perseveres through tough situations and makes an effort to assert his strength even with an aching struggle on the inside. The ideal of stoicism can be used to depict Santiago’s mindset in the novella due to his motive to conceal his misery and prove himself to his surroundings.
The sharp pain that Santiago receives throughout the fishing process can directly relate to Christ as he was nailed to the cross and Hemingway’s emphasis on the peskiness of Santiago’s left hand alludes to the Bible’s descriptions of the left hand as hellish and evil. Santiago is pictured feeling the nail go through his hands and into the wood, (Hemingway 107), alluding to the nails that were hammered through Christ’s hands in the bible and suggesting a relationship between the pain Christ endured while being hung on the cross and the pain Santiago felt in his hands that were severely slashed by the fishing line. Santiago’s burden on his left hand was illustrated as the fishing line burned his back and his left hand, and [it] was taking all the strain and cutting badly, (Hemingway 82), creating a clear exaggeration on the displeasure felt on his left hand over his right; which the Bible has repeatedly declared sinister. Santiago portrayed his left hand as a traitor [that] would not do what he called on it to do, (Hemingway 71), further illustrating the analogy of the untrustworthiness and trouble his left hand brought him relating to the negative connotation the Bible describes the left hand as. The similarities Santiago and Christ share throughout their experiences allow the comparison of Santiago to the agony of Christ’s crucifixion.
Santiago deeply expresses his character throughout the novella through personal commentary on his pain and perseverance; much of relating to Christ’s enduring pain throughout the path to crucifixion and concluding death lying on the face of the cross. The importance of the qualities of a man to Santiago are seen as one that can be destroyed but not defeated,”” (Hemingway 103), indicating his attitude towards giving up and persevering through even the toughest instances, such as his battle with the sharks. Santiago’s conflict with the sharks enables him to show [them] what a man can do and what a man endures, (Hemingway 66), characterizing him as one who allows the basic qualities of a man define his thoughts and actions. Santiago confesses in the end that the sharks truly beat [him],”” (Hemingway 124) and admits that he suffered plenty, (Hemingway 126) in a discussion with Manolin, reflecting the ultimate resolution to Christ as he was truly destroyed as he hung from the cross and relating to the finale to Santiago’s struggle with the sea and his eventual death. Both Christ and Santiago faced the same fate; however, both endured as tremendously as possible and never allowed themselves to be defeated.
The consistency of Santiago concealing his pain even when he fished in isolation the entire trip defines his character as he constantly denies complaint and never gives into adversity. The major connections to Christ seen through the novella such as the carrying of the mast and the nails in his hands highlight the strength and perseverance of Santiago and provide insight on the excruciating pain both Christ and Santiago endure throughout their hardships. Hemingway concluded the novella with the implied death of Santiago, a comparison to the eventual death of Christ on the cross. Though Santiago was physically broken throughout the catching of the marlin and the battle with the sharks, Santiago never accepted defeat and persevered throughout all pain and aching, proving to be a strong-willed masculine figure that Hemingway strives to interpret into his novels.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. 1952. New York: Scribner, 2003.
What about the Left Hand of God?, www.thywordistruth.com/questions/Question-428.html#.W5h23S2ZN-V.
The Old Man and the Sea: The Relationship Between Santiago and Manolin
Throughout The Old Man and the Sea, it’s evident that Santiago and Manolin have an interestingly deep relationship. However, the contributions that the old man and Manolin put forth into this substantially loving, strong, and caring relationship change as they both age.
In the beginning of the old man and Manolin’s relationship, love is established and one can see that Santiago takes care of and mentors the boy. Hemingway states, The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him (10), therefore one can conclude that the old man taught and was the primary caregiver in this relationship. However, as both themselves and the relationship ages, the roles Manolin and Santiago play in the relationship reverse. For example, Manolin has the same partially fictitious conversation with the old man every day, asking ‘May I take the cat net?’ (16), making sure Santiago has enough to eat, and discussing baseball along with yesterday’s paper. Evidently, Manolin now takes care for Santiago to much larger extent than Santiago takes care of Manolin. In the end of the novel, Manolin declares, ‘we will fish together now for I still have much to learn’ (125), which allows Santiago to once again take care of Manolin to a greater extent, specifically in the manner of teaching and mentoring him like he did when Manolin was a younger boy. Overall, it’s undeniably evident that Santiago and Manolin’s relationship is filled with care and caretaking, even though the caregiving positions of the boy and Santiago change throughout their relationship.
There are numerous other elements in Manolin and Santiago’s relationship, including faith, love, and selflessness. In the beginning of the novel, Hemingway straightforwardly states, The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him (10). From this, one can understand that the love in Santiago and Manolin’s relationship came from early on. Furthermore, Santiago states, ‘I wish the boy was here’ numerous times while on his journey which patently shows that the old man both loves and misses Manolin (50). Faith in their relationship is also displayed in the commencement of this novel. The old man says, ‘I know you did not leave me because you doubted’ (10), which shows that he has faith in the boy and their relationship. Additionally, after Manolin states that his father doesn’t have a lot of faith, Santiago says, ‘But we have. Haven’t we?’ and the boy assures him by simply saying, ‘yes’ (11). Therefore, Santiago and Manolin have an immense amount of faith in each other and their relationship. Moreover, selflessness plays a substantial role in the relationship between Manolin and the old man. For instance, when Manolin offers to fish with Santiago again in the beginning of the novel, the old man denies his offer and explains to Manolin, ‘You’re with a lucky boat. Stay with them’ (10). Santiago selflessly denied Manolin’s offer to fish with him again as Manolin would be better off fishing with the lucky boat. We learn that Santiago wishes Manolin was fishing with him as he states it a multitude of times throughout the novel, therefore he would’ve been much more content if he would have accepted this offer. Patently, the relationship between Manolin and Santiago is filled with selflessness, faith, and love.
In final consideration, one can clearly identify and describe the old man and the boy’s relationship in The Old Man and the Sea as caring, loving, faithful, and unselfish. Although who’s taking care of who in Manolin and Santiago’s relationship changes, their relationship is undoubtedly still rich in care.
Discuss the function of Martin, proprietor of the Terrace, in the novel.
In The Old Man and the Sea, the proprietor of the Terrace named Martin obtains a key function in the novel. Martin is a benevolent man who generously gives Manolin beverages and food, free of charge in both the commencement and conclusion of the story. By doing this, Martin functions as a character who further developed the character of the old man as humble, grateful, and wise.
Martin, the proprietor of the Terrace, helps identify and form Santiago’s personality. Martin is a charitable character who gives Martin food for Santiago without charging them money. The generous actions and character of Martin function in a way that they further build Santiago’s character and personality as both grateful, wise, and humble. The old man’s reactions to the kind acts of Martin identify Santiago as grateful because when he finds out that Martin had given Manolin the utensils, food, and beer they were about to use or consume, Santiago wants to ‘give him the belly meat of a big fish,’ after he declares, ‘I must thank him’ (20). From this, one can already decipher the old man as grateful. When Santiago finds out that Martin has good-heartedly given them food on more than one occasion, Santiago states, ‘I must give him something more than the belly meat then. He is very thoughtful for us’ (20). One can now understand that the old man is even more substantially grateful for the proprietor’s actions than before, evidently making Santiago a grateful character. The fact that Santiago accepts the food makes him humble because it clearly indicates that he does not think he is too superb to accept such charitable acts, but also wise because he accepts food that he clearly needs even though he can’t repay Martin immediately for his kind actions. Evidently, Martin functions as a side character that further develops the character and nature of Santiago.
All in all, it is apparent that the function of Martin, proprietor of the Terrace in The Old Man and the Sea is to advance the development of Santiago’s character. Martin’s actions highlight the wiseness, humbleness, and gratefulness of the old man’s personality.
Evaluate the author’s choice of the third-person omniscient point of view with regard to the development of the plot.
Throughout his novel, The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway chose to implement the point of view of third-person omniscient into his writing. With regard to the development of the plot, I firmly perceive that Hemingway was wise in this decision because without the use of third-person omniscient, the story would be confusing and less intriguing.
With the use of third-person omniscient in this novel, the reader gets to understand how the old man feels throughout his journey, what goes through his mind, and how strong Santiago and Manolin’s relationship truly is. Without these factors, the novel would merely become insipid, uninteresting, and possibly confusing. For example, during the development of the plot, the reader learns a lot about how the fish, marlin, and skiff are moving, why they’re moving in this way, and how it affects Santiago through his thoughts. For example, Hemingway states, They were moving more slowly now and the glow of Havana was not so strong, so that he knew the current must be carrying them to the eastward. If I lose the glare of Havana we must be going more to the eastward, he thought (47). In this quote, there is both the narrator’s description of what was occurring and the old man’s thoughts. Without Santiago’s thoughts, most readers wouldn’t know that the feeble glow of Havana and slow motion of the skiff meant that current was carrying the skiff eastward. Therefore, The Old Man and the Sea being told in the third-person limited point of view where the narrator doesn’t know or share the character’s thoughts would leave readers confused and simply uninterested. Through the use of third-person omniscient, the reader also learns how strong of a bond Manolin and Santiago have. For instance, the old man states, ‘I wish the boy were here’ and expresses how he misses the boy out loud several times while on his journey to catch and bring home the marlin (56). The narrator also explains how the boy has the same conversation with the old man and how they went through this fiction every day (16). Consequently, if the novel was told in first-person where you only read the narrator’s thoughts and the dialogue they hear and speak, one wouldn’t understand the tightly-knit relationship of Manolin and the old man, and a lesser or no bond at all would be formed between the reader and the characters. Second-person point of view obviously wouldn’t work because second-person is typically used for instructional writing purposes, while this novel is telling a story. Evidently, Hemingway made an intelligent decision in writing this novel in the third-person omniscient point of view as the novel written without third-person point of view purely wouldn’t work.
Patently, I undoubtedly believe that Ernest Hemingway made the correct decision in writing The Old Man and the Sea in the third-person omniscient point of view. If it were written in any other point of view, the novel wouldn’t be able to include or as effectively include how and what Santiago feels and thinks as well as the significant bond between him and the boy, which are crucial to the plot.
Examine various examples of symbolism employed by Hemingway in this novel, and explain how the use of symbolism contributes to both plot and characterization.
In Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway employs symbolism various times throughout the novel. The use of the mast across Santiago’s shoulders, the position he sleeps in, the lions in his dreams, and the great DiMaggio are all uses of symbolism that contribute to both the plot and characterization in the novel.
On numerous occasions towards the conclusion of the story, the old man carries the mast on his shoulders. For example, Hemingway states, He started to climb again and at the top he fell and lay for some time with the mast across his shoulder. He tried to get up. But it was too difficult and he sat there with the mast on his shoulder and looked at the road (121). This symbolizes and alludes to not only the cross of Jesus, but also to the struggle and suffering that Jesus undergoes. The mast on Santiago’s shoulders makes him look similar to the symbol of Jesus on the cross, and highlights how the old man is too hurt and exhausted to even get up, with injuries on the palms of his hands and back. The position in how the old man sleeps, He pulled the blanket over his shoulders and then over his back and legs and he slept face down on the newspapers with his arms out straight and the palms of his hands up (122), also symbolizes Jesus on the cross, specifically in how Santiago’s injured palms face up. This use of symbolism contributes to characterization in this novel by developing the old man’s character as a compassionate, enduring, and humble person alike to Jesus. The symbolization of the mast on the old man’s shoulders also contributes to the plot by in some way giving an explanation to why Santiago was able to endure such pain for three days, similar to how Jesus endured pain on the cross. Evidently, Hemingway uses the old man’s sleeping position and the mast on his shoulders to symbolize Jesus in this novel.
Another use of symbolism in The Old Man and the Sea is when Hemingway uses the great DiMaggio and his story to symbolize the power of being persevered and persistent, in which the old man also portrays. Santiago thinks to himself, I must have confidence and I must be worthy of the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly even with the pain of the bone spur in his heel (68). Clearly, DiMaggio is a persevered player who overcome the challenge and pain of his bone spur to continue playing baseball, whom Santiago reveres and glorifies. Similar to DiMaggio, Santiago overpowers the pain of the injuries in his palms and on his back in order to catch and return with the marlin through hard work and perseverance. This use of symbolism contributes to the plot because without Santiago’s persistence through his injuries, he would’ve had to simply give up on the marlin and sail back to his shack. This novel would then either contain a substantially insipid plot or feeble plot, and the reader wouldn’t have been able to create as strong of a bond with Santiago throughout the plot. This example of symbolism also contributes to the characterization in this novel by developing the old man as a persistent and persevere character. Patently, Hemingway uses DiMaggio to symbolize the old man’s persevering actions throughout his journey.
Hemingway uses symbolism in Santiago’s dreams, in which he dreams of lions on the beach from his youth. Lions are strong, prideful, and substantially capable animals, all of which the old man also was in his youth. The lions symbolize everything Santiago is trying to hold on to from his childhood, as he never dreams about anything current in his life. For instance, Hemingway states, He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the lions on the beach and He never dreamed about the boy (25). It seems as if the old man only dreams of what he is desperately trying to hold onto during his later years, as holding onto the capableness of his young self would evidently aid in ending his eighty-four day dry spell. The use of lions as symbolism contributes to the plot because it helps the readers understand why Santiago needs to return with the marlin so desperately, and contributes to characterization by developing Santiago’s past and current desires. Evidently, the old man dreaming about lions symbolizes characteristics from his youth that Santiago intensely desires and wishes to hold on to.
All in all, Hemingway uses symbolism numerous time in The Old Man and the Sea which immensely contribute to both characterization in the novel and the plot. The lions in the old man’s dreams, the great DiMaggio, the mast and Santiago’s sleeping positions are all used as symbols in this novel.
Do you think Santiago is a tragic hero who brought down his own destruction? If so, what in your opinion, is his character flaw? In other words, what thing within him caused his destruction? If you do not think Santiago fits the description of a tragic hero, explain why not, using evidence from the novel.
Catching the marlin in the novel, The Old Man and the Sea, is what primarily made Santiago a hero. He persisted through pains and aches that no old man should have to experience and travelled vast distances, just to catch the great marlin. Accordingly, I don’t think that Santiago is a tragic hero, as his character flaw plays a significant role in his heroic actions.
I simply do not believe that Santiago fits the description of a tragic hero, although he does indeed have a character flaw. As stated in the prompt, as tragic hero can be defined as one whose downfall or destruction is brought about by some character flaw within himself. However, without this character flaw of travelling too far out (115), Santiago wouldn’t be a hero in the first place. I firmly perceive that Santiago is indeed a hero, but that enduring injuries and pain throughout his journey to catch the marlin is what made him a hero. In the novel, Hemingway states, four hours later the fish was still swimming steadily out to sea, towing the skiff, and the old man was still braced solidly with the line across his back (45). From reading what was previously stated, the reader is able to understand that the old man knew that in order to catch the marlin, he would have to sail out exceptionally far. Consequently, if catching the marlin is what makes the old man a hero, then travelling far out was simply a risk a part of his heroic journey. Evidently, the old man isn’t a tragic hero because his character flaw was required for him to become such a hero.
In final consideration, although the old man is a hero, he is does not fit the description of a tragic hero. Santiago’s character flaw is critical in making him a hero, therefore he clearly is not a tragic hero in The Old Man and the Sea.