Friday, July 15, 2011

The old man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea is a well written book by Ernest Hemingway in which he uses the heroic figure; Santiago an old man, to show how a real man should overcome his troubles. The troubles may be catching a fish, as it is for him, or overcoming any trouble at all. The reader at first gets an image of an old man where the tone is sad, and depressing. There is a comparison between the old man and  Jesus Christ ,as a person who works hard and goes through a lot of pain; “…his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords”, just as Jesus carried the cross and had nails go through  his hands. The young boy, Manolin, is a person that really honors Santiago and sees him as a great man. The fish in the sea is symbolic to the troubles that people face in their everyday life. The old man and the boy like the baseball player DiMaggio, “I would like to take the great DiMaggio fishing”, said the old man ,saying what   he thinks a real man is like, overcoming pain and not giving up. Later once Santiago is asleep he dreams when he was a boy and of himself being in Africa watching lions in the sunset, symbolizing that he is  a lion in the sunset part of his life, meaning he has little life left. The next day the old man goes on his eighty fifth fishing day, since he caught a fish, in hope to catch a fish that day. He wishes the boy was with him plenty of times, showing how much he loves the boy. Santiago while at sea, finally hooks a fish, but a really strong one; one the old man knows he has to fight for. Santiago has admiration for that fish that when he hurts his hand, while holding on to the fishing line, he never let go even with the pain and blood in his hand. He just grabs the line with the other hand. He wish to see the great fish, but not the way he looked now; as a weak old man, he thought that the fish and himself as rivals. The struggle is long and very difficult for the old man but after many days, and with his bad hand cramp up, while the other hand in pain with an injury , he has determination to catch that fish . The fish got tired and Santiago had a chance to pull him in. He had worked hard for this, but all his hard work; reward was taken from him as he fought hard with sharks, and nearly lost his life, for the fish, but only ended up with the skeleton of the fish. In this book the recurring theme is of a heroic figure that should never give up no matter what the situation is. In Santiago, the central character of The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway has created a hero who personifies honor, courage, endurance, and faith.
     Throughout, this books there are moments in which examples of honor are display. The old man being a real man knows what honor is, and knows which other people deserve honor. Santiago sees the fish, which he is working really hard to catch as a competitor which he admires on how strong it is and how the fish, like him, does not give up.”I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends”. The old man may respect the fish, but he shows more honors in which he will too try his best to beat the fish and finally catch him. Santiago honors the fish, but he honors himself as well, as he is truly a man, or at least he tries to be. “I wish I could show him what sort of man I am”. Here he is talking about the fish; how he knows it is a worthy opponent, and he wants the fish to look at him as well as an opponent worth fighting with. He shows that he has a lot of honor and wants the fish to know about it as well. The old man also sees the great DiMaggio as a man with plenty of honor, on how he can still play baseball even with the pain in his foot. “But I must gave 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”. Santiago sees this famous baseball player as an example as how he should be as well, how a real man should be. DiMaggio goes through a lot of pain during his games but does not complain, and at that moment so was the old man as he had one of his hand with an injury while the other was cramped up holding the fishing line of a huge pulling on it. He has to be as good as DiMaggio to be worthy of the fish, which is his rival.
    The life of the main character in this novel is of a man that shows courage that cannot under any circumstance show any fear or be put down by terror. Santiago has had a life where he has showed that even in dangerous situations he has proven his manhood. “When I was your age I was before the mast on a square rigged ship that ran to Africa and I have seen lions on the beaches in the evening”, even when a young man he was not afraid. The old man used to be alone with lions in Africa at a young age that shows how he can withstand being alone, which to most people that is frightening at a young age. The lions represent animals with courage, and are compare to him a lot of times to show how Santiago, like the lions show courage. The old man was a brave young man, and even in his old age he still shows the same kind of courage, which is to never to give in to fear.  “Then he looked behind him and saw that no land was visible”, the old man was alone in the middle of nowhere fishing. Santiago could have stayed close to land to be safe at his age alone, but instead even afraid he still went out and fish for his life depended on it. Santiago could have had help with him, but he like most of his life he was alone and he still did not turn back to safety. The sea is a very dangerous place for a person to be on account on how unpredictable it could be with, the storms, sharks, and getting lost. It would be unthinkable for anyone to consider doing this, without having courage to do this that being the old man. “When once, through my treachery, it had been necessary to him to make a choice, the old man thought”.  Here Santiago had the choice to not do be at a far out point in sea, but he makes the decision to show courage and stay. Courage is difficult mental and moral qualities to withstand, the old man does this very well. He is mentally scare, weak, and alone but even if he knows it will be difficult and treacherous he continues on and remains where there is no guarantee he will survive.
     The way a real man is portrait in Hemingway’s view is of a man that endures all and never, under any circumstance gives up. Santiago is a great example of that type of man, in the book he is shown in some problematical conditions in each he could have easily given up. “The sun was hot now and the old man felt it on the back of his neck and felt the sweat trickle down his back as he rowed”. Santiago has been fishing for eighty five days in a row now, and had not caught anything, but he was still persistent and continues. The sun is very bright above him, and he is very hot and tired with only a bottle of water; even with all this against him he never complains or just stops and goes home. The old man endures all this hardship to complete his goal to catch a fish, just like a real man. Santiago’s rival was a very strong fish that would not give in and let the old man pull it in, it was a tedious task of holding on to that line holding on to that huge fish “.But four hours later the fish was still swimming steadily out to sea, towing the skiff, and Santiago was still braced solidly with the line across his back”. It had been four hours of the war between the old man and the fish; Santiago could have let go of the fish and looked for a smaller and easier fish to catch, but instead he continue to battle that fish. This shows how he never gives up and does not stop reaching to complete a goal, even difficult, until completed. He even says “I can do it as long as he can”, here he is referring to the fish, that he can pull on the line and go through that pain as long as the fish may want. The old man could have been there for a week or longer if the fish would have wanted, he stay battling the fish for days and did not decide to give up until the fish did. This shows the kind of determination he has that he would compete with a big, strong fish even if he was weak and old. Santiago would endure until he completed this goal until the fish was caught and no sooner.  The old man had to endure so much to finally catch the fish, and if he would have not endured he would have never been able to catch the fish in the first place.
     The struggles that Santiago had to go through were not easy, but the old man always believed in himself that he would be able to overcome all his troubles; he had faith things would get better. “But remember how you went eighty-seven days without fish and then we caught big ones every day for three weeks”.  Santiago had gone so many days without catching a fish, but not once did he stop fishing; he could have given up and lost faith in his ability as a fisherman. The old man continue fishing showing that he has faith that eventually he will be able to catch that great fish, he does not stop believing in himself no matter how grim the situation may look. Santiago is well aware of the dangerous situation in which he is going into, as there are plenty great fish that can overpower him. With this knowledge the old man does not conceive his defeat; instead he has full confidence in his ability to overcome the adversities that come his way. “I may not be as strong as I think”, Santiago said. “But I know many tricks and I have resolution”. There are many tricks the old man could have used so he did not have to go out to the dangerous sea, but Santiago had faith in himself that even if it was difficult; he found a resolution to pull through and achieve his goal. The old man stated that he was not a religious person, but still he prayed to god so that he may catch a fish. “But I will say ten our Fathers and then Hail Mary’s that I should catch this fish…” Santiago shows that he has faith in god that he would do all this so that he could be successful, but in reality he real has faith in himself. The old man does his prayers mechanically and sometimes incorrectly; this shows how he does not really believe the prayers are very effective; he mostly believes in himself as a man who has the strength to catch a great fish.
     This book is a great example of how the reader, like Santiago are one in the same. The reader may not have the same struggles as Santiago; to catch a fish, battle a shark, being old, but the reader is still a human being who has their own battles to fight, and overcome. Hemingway creates a character that any person can identify with as an example of how one should never give up and continue to with a battle until the mission is completed. At the end the reader may realize that life, like the book; may not have a happy ending where everything goes according to plan, but the reader could learn from Santiago that even if all his hard works reward was taken from him he still has the power to continue on with his life. The reader could learn that when a problem arises the best solution is to show what no fear and face that problem face on without any doubt in their abilities. 


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Love SMS said...

This is a story of an old man who hasn’t been able to catch a fish for last 84 days. People start calling him “Salao”, worst form of unluck and make fun of him. A young boy believes in him and goes to fishing with man as he believes there’s a lot to learn from old man. Although he has to go for fishing with some other guys at end because of his parent’s will but he’s unhappy about decision and wants to be with old man. On 85th day old man goes alone and he catches a fish (which turns out to be a giant fish). Story turns around then when man has to spend 3 days in water and fish is not giving up to be caught. Old man eats small fish this time and he gets bruises in his hands. He thinks he’s going crazy and asks to be clear in head. He has slept very less. He talks to fish and consider him brother. How old man saves himself and fish from sharks.
To me this is a story where author has tried to explain how we constantly keep on fighting and explaining our inner friend/enemy. Where we explain why we did this, especially wrong and how much it matters to our lives. This is not just about my happiness or your hurt but many others whom we are treating.

Ian Vell said...

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