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Old Man And The Sea Essay

1462 words - 6 pages

Ernest Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea shines as example of the bravery that is required to chance at conquering the ultimate struggle. Santiago embodies a man full of whole-hearted character whose love and resolve enable him to push beyond the limits of even a great man- a man one can only dream of becoming. Santiago’s unique personality offers a variety of insights on the way that life should be approached. Not many possess the ability to love an admirable enemy as much as a dear friend, but Santiago proves that he is no ordinary fisherman. Hemmingway beautifully captures Santiago’s personality with the virtues of faith love, and hope. Throughout the novel, however, as Santiago’s mission grows seemingly impossible, Santiago mainly stays true to only two of the virtues but also develops a trait that can now be considered virtuous, and that is the maintenance of faith and the capacity to love.
Initially, Hemmingway demonstrates the boundless love that Manolin and Santiago share with their nightly fake dinner conversations. They exist in a relationship where they need each other to survive, both physically and emotionally. Hemmingway succeeds in subtly depicting Santiago’s capability to love in many ways throughout the duration of the story. For example, when Santiago discusses the naming of the sea he explains how the younger and less appreciative fishermen call the sea el mar, as though it were an enemy. But to Santiago, the sea is la mar, “which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her”(p.29). As Santiago reflects on his first day on the wide open waters, at first he feels lonely but is then comforted by the life surrounding him and thinks to himself that “no man was ever alone on the sea”(p.61.) Santiago fails to catch a fish on the sea for 85 days before this opportunity. To fail for so long and to maintain such strong determination can only be accomplished with a limitless love of the sport and sea.
As Santiago progresses on his three-day voyage, Hemmingway reveals the intensity of the growth of Santiago’s love. Perhaps an odd characteristic of Santiago is that he respects his enemy, the marlin, almost in a way that resembles love. So much in fact, that he almost feels guilty about taking the great fish’s life. “You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?”(p.105) This profound question that Santiago ponders over is crucial to understanding the way in which Santiago loves. Like most humans, Santiago loves for the sake of caring for someone like Manolin. But Santiago also loves commendable opponents for the sake of pride, a heroic view that is normally seen as close to arrogance. Santiago’s adventure with love and pride proves wrong the arrogant side of pride. Cienfuegos and the majestic marlin are perfect competitors for Santiago because they represent the best of the best. He finds no pride in winning for the sake of winning, especially against...

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