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The Character Santiago In Hemingway’s The Old Man And The Sea

1900 words - 8 pages

The Character Santiago in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea

Hemingway has a way of making his readers believe that the feats and strengths that his characters obtain in his novels are actually possible. Although this statement may be too critical, and maybe there is a man out there, somewhere on the coast of Cuba who at this very moment is setting out to the open sea to catch a marlin of his own. The struggle many readers have is believing the story of Santiago’s physical powers and his strength against temptation bring forward the question of whether or not The Old Man and the Sea is worthy to be called a classic. Hemingway’s Santiago brought Faulkner and millions of other readers on their knees, while to some, believed Hemingway had swung his third strike. As we look further into Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, we can analyze the criticism and complications of the character Santiago. He is portrayed as a faulty Jesus, an unrealistic and inhuman man, and again still a hero to those who cannot find happiness in their life.

The great stories behind The Old Man and the Sea are what make it so wonderful. Because of this novels success released in 1952, it helped Hemingway ring in the Nobel Prize for 1954 for Hemingway (Hurse). He had a way of writing a good hearted, high spirited hero, who seemed in many ways to be at one with nature and himself. It is believed that Hemingway conjured up the character Santiago from a 92 year old man who crossed to Florida with other Cuban refugees (Baker 910). This makes sense considering Santiago is the main character, who is of old age. His characters although having many great qualities, still had struggles. Santiago is the man of hour, when speaking of The Old Man and the Sea. He lives the life of a poor fisherman who has not caught a fish for over eighty days. His companionship is of a yong boy named Manolin, who insists on helping Santiago everyday despite his parents wishes to part from the unlucky old man. Over and over again he is remarked to be a strange old man, and he himself is the one to glorify that. He seems to struggle with the fact that he must prove himself to the other fisherman who mock him and believe him to be a fallen hero. He sets off to sea in his boat one day, but what he does not know that it will be the three most tiring days of his life. He first catches a smaller fish and instead of turning back, he decides to go farther out into the ocean to see what he can catch with that fish. He soon is dragged all over and back by a shiny purple marlin, that is two feet longer than his skiff. The response to Santiago’s poor decision or lack of creativity to harpoon the marlin instead of try to kill it another was as to not attract mako sharks was confusing. He is shown to be a man of intelligence and greatness, yet his decision to kill the marlin in this manner knowing what could happen proves that he had a distinct motive for harpooning the fish. By the words of Gery Brenner,...

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