Strength in the Sea
American writer Napoleon Hill once said, “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” In particular, Ernest Hemingway’s short novel, The Old Man and the Sea is an allegorical story about life’s struggles and rewards. In this story, Santiago struggles a lot while at sea but in the end he comes out a strong man. On the surface the story seems to be about a man who struggles to catch a giant marlin and who struggles to protect the marlin against the sharks. But in the end Santiago learned to depend on his own abilities and keep his dignity, bravery and integrity while facing hardships and it strengthened his relationships with others.
Santiago had to rely on his own abilities in order to meet life’s challenges. A few hours after hooking the fish, Santiago says, “I wish I had the boy. But you haven’t got the boy, he thought. You have only yourself and you had better work” (Hemingway 51). He knows that missing the boy won’t benefit him in any way and that the only way he’s going to make it back to shore safely is if he focuses on the tasks at hand. Shortly after Santiago catches the tuna, he says,” Remember, no matter how little you want to, that you must eat him in the morning” (49). Since the boy isn’t there to remind him to do things he forgets, he has to try his best to remember what he has to do on his own. Right after Santiago ate the tuna, “he looked across the seas and knew how alone he was now” (60). Santiago is so far out in the sea that the only strength he can use to bring in the fish is his own strength. Santiago has to exhibit self reliance while being alone out at sea, in order to stay alive.
Santiago’s encounters while at sea tests our will to keep our dignity, bravery and integrity, while in unfortunate circumstances. After the two sharks attacked the fish, Santiago said, “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is” (110). He has came to the realization that he’s not going to be scared but he’s going to be ready to face whatever is to come....