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Old Man and the Sea Paper

Matthew Goodrich Mr Call 16,9, 2012 Old Man and The Sea Essay The Old Man and The Sea was one of the last great works of Ernest Hemingway and was written as a way to come to terms with his old age. A hero is defined as a man who is of distinguished courage or admired for his ability and brave deeds. The Old Man mirrors Hemingway’s ideal man, who is coming into his old age. Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21st 1899 and was an American author and journalist. His writing style was severely under rated. His adventurous life greatly influenced later generations.

Hemingway produced most of his works during the 1920s and 50s. He wrote seven novels, six short stories, and two non-fiction works. Several books of his were published after death. Many of his works are considered American Classics in literature. The Old Man is a kind, confident and determined man. Although Santiago is old, he asserts himself through fishing by imbuing his acts with a brotherly love and a desire to remain stoic no matter his hard ships. While the Old Man lives in relative seclusion, he gives his life meaning through fishing. He creates this meaning by imbuing his work with a brutally intense focus.

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Santiago’s determination and perseverance that he infuses within the various tasks that he has before him helps Santiago accomplish his goals. Without his focus he would never have prevailed against the mako and shovel nosed sharks. This is apparent when during the night, Santiago awaits the next wave of sharks and begins to wonder, “what can I think of now? Nothing. I must think of nothing and wait for the next ones”[111]. Santiago’s focus facilitates the progress of his accomplishments; but also defines himself as a character and a code hero.

Santiago is an accomplished fisherman with a great capacity for determination and passionate focus, which affirms his beliefs and breaths meaning into the chaotic world that he has been thrown into. The Old man has no next of kin and his only true friend is the boy, Manolin. This lack of outside relationships allows for Santiago to become more focused and determined. Which is the definitive aspect of Santiago as a human being and as a fisherman. This is most apparent when The Old Man states, “You were born to be a fisherman as the fish were born to be fish”[105].

While the old man is a focused and determined person he finds the balance between life and death in all of nature. He respects nature and treats every aspect of it with a brotherly compassion. Santiago respects the struggles of others, especially the struggle between man and beast. The respect that Santiago gives others is also filled with a burning compassion. While battling the marlin, The Old Man regularly refers to the fish as “brother” this shows a true sense of empathy towards his brother, the marlin.

An Important factor in Santiago’s struggle is that he does not treat the marlin as a foe but as a comrade whom he must battle in order to survive. Although Santiago regrets that he must kill the noble marlin in order to survive. Battling the marlin brings Santiago great joy but he respects the fish’s desire to survive: “You are killing me, fish, the old man thought. But you have a right to. Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who” [92].

The marlin is a noble and powerful fish but Santiago finds beauty and grace in even those who seek to prey upon him. Although the shark preys upon Santiago, he still respects the shark’s powerful nature and speed. Santiago comments on his beauty and features similar to the marlin. Which is in stark contrast to the marlin. Respecting the balance between life and death is an important quality of Santiago’s as well as a code hero. The Old Man respects nature but also fills the world around him with his ideals and beliefs.

Santiago remains stoic during tumultuous times. He finds himself remaining calm and treating his body as a tool rather a part of his self. While battling the marlin, The Old Man’s hand begins to cramp. He quickly reprimands his hand for failing him at such a pivotal point in his battle. Remaining detached is an important quality of Santiago’s as well as an important quality in Stoicism. Stoicism is a school of thought, which held the principles of logical thought, and allowed for destructive emotions and painful or primal feelings to be filtered out.

Along with filtering out primal emotions stoicism requires intense focus and physical determination. After Santiago’s rest during the night, he pulls his hand from the sea to see if it had healed and he feels a searing pain in his hand and then tells himself that, “pain does not matter to a man”[84]. This defines the Old man’s entire struggle, the elimination of pain in the face of insurmountable odds. Many Hemingway heroes display stoic qualities such as Robert Jordan in Whom The Bell Tolls who fought in The Spanish Civil War on the republican side.

The qualities of Santiago mirror that of many Hemingway heroes who represent Stoicism, Determination, and the respect of nature. Santiago is old and alone but he gives his life meaning through fishing and respecting nature, while remaining a stoic individual. The Old man affirms his beliefs and who he is as a person by focusing on fishing. He respects the natural world and equates nature to other human beings. Stoicism is an important quality of Santiago’s and helps him in his goals as a fisherman. Santiago is an important Hemingway hero and clearly represents all the aspirations and ideals of Ernest Hemingway.

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