Santiago: A Code Hero Free Essay Example

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer


The Old male and the Sea is one of the books written by the famous Ernest Hemingway. Just to give a little background, he is a well-known American author. He composed a number of novels, narratives, and nonfictions. He made an award for The Old Man and the Sea in 1954.

During the post-war anxiety, Hemingway developed a specific theme in his novels he called “Code Hero.” According to Hemingway, a code hero shows excellent valor in times of problems or trouble; are extremely distinct and totally free willed; has a high moral requirement; give significance to somebody else’s dignity and respect; and reveal empathy to the feelings of others.

A code hero is brave enough to face his fears like death and darkness. He reveals fantastic stamina even if wounded. He is daring and has fascination to travel in many places. A code hero may not be completely triumphant in all his undertakings. It’s his mindset that makes the distinction.

Physical strength is also obvious in a code hero. Dealing with death is the sign of genuine manhood. Aside from that, his love for his surroundings and great times in his life in some way clearly defines what a code hero is all about. In brief, a code hero is someone who after dealing with too numerous problems has the ability to stand up to all trials.

The Old Male and the Sea as the title indicates, informs about a senior man named Santiago, a fisherman. His biggest experience took place in the sea.

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He has this small boat and he heads out in the sea together with a kid. He’s old but still looks cheerful and unconquered. He resided in this shack all by himself. Thanks to the boy who has been his companion.


Santiago, our protagonist, had been in the ocean for 84 days but was not successful in capturing fish. Because of this, the kid’s parents stopped him from sticking with Santiago. The boy had his own boat and in the future, the kid ended up being more effective than Santiago. But he still takes care of Santiago. Every so often they fulfill and share their excellent times together. Baseball is among the topics they delighted in speaking about.

On his 85th day in the ocean, Santiago never gave up. He never lost hope considering the length of time in his pursuit for a really big catch. Then he decided to go much farther in the sea in search of this fish. Time came when the bait of his harpoon seemed to have trapped something in it. It seemed difficult to pull. And Santiago was right. He caught a fish 18-foot long. Something more than what he was expecting.

But there was a problem: How to load this fish on his boat? The fish was strong that he couldn’t do anything but let himself be pulled by this fish. He was determined not to let this opportunity go. So he endured everything just to hold on the fish line so as not to let the fish go away. How he really wish that the boy was right there by his side seeing this great adventure.

When finally he can pull the fish back home, unfortunately, along the way, sharks were following him. He wrestled among these sharks. He defeated the sharks but still lose the battle when he found out that the 18-foot long fish had been almost eaten up by the sharks.

Is Santiago an example of a code hero? Santiago had endured many problems in the story. Even from the beginning up to the end of the story, problems never left Santiago. He was patient in facing each problem because he has this strong sense of faith that somehow all these things happening to him shall come to pass.

It looks impossible but the author makes it seems possible for many things to happen. Santiago wanted to prove that although he was well advanced in years, he was still a good fisherman.

He battled the elements of nature. He doesn’t look in his weaknesses but focus on his strengths. He believed that he could catch many fish. Though Santiago had faced several misfortunes in his life, he was hoping for something good to happen. He experienced being ridiculed, but he just kept going. He was willing to risk his life. He battled with sharks out of his determination to bring home the prize of his labor, in complete pieces.

In spite of the many misfortunes, Santiago was an appreciative person. He admired the strength of the 18-foot long fish. He believed that every man is born to succeed in life, not to experience defeat. Applying what he believed, Santiago was very sorry for the fish because it too, should not experience defeat. This also showed that Santiago had a soft heart. He was concerned not only for his life but for others’ life, too.

With these characteristics could we consider Santiago a code hero? A big yes for that! With everything that happened, with the attitude he showcased, Santiago was a qualified Hemmingway’s code hero. Santiago’s attitude towards life was the key to his success.

The story can be compared to a child animated story of a heroic adventure that captures our imagination. It is a story on courage and endurance in times of troubles. Hemmingway used simple characters yet with outstanding characteristics; a simple setting yet with a great story to tell.

The author gives life to his code hero on a man like Santiago. The mood of the story is a bit serious but a good sense of humor can also be observed. The story will surely make us explore the possibilities of our imagination. With Santiago’s character, we can say that everything is possible to achieve if, like Santiago, we have the guts, determination, skills, and correct attitude in facing the world’s challenges.


A code hero is not for fiction stories alone. Though the characteristics of a code hero could be very idealistic, Hemmingway might want to impart the readers that problems are natural part of our lives. How we react to problems will determine our capacity to solve them. Santiago’s character is a good model for us. Let’s imitate his attitudes. Let’s apply his determination to win the battle to our own struggles in lives. Aside from correct attitude, let’s also adopt Santiago’s appreciative attitude.

The Old Man and the Sea shows that no limitations can hinder a man who has clear vision and purpose for his life. This story is about bravery amidst difficult and challenging situations. Not so much different from what we are currently facing. The difference relies on how we face the problem.

Works Cited

“Characteristics of Hemmingway’s Code Hero.” (2006). Millikin University Home Page. Retrieved June 19, 2008,

Corbett, Bob. (2006). “The Old Man and the Sea.” Webster. Retrieved June 19, 2008,


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