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The Works Of Ernest Hemingway Essay

1083 words - 4 pages

Enter an unfamiliar world of barren solitude, aggressive predators, minimal resources and the fight for your life. Few people have experienced such situations; and those that do return with a new outlook on life. Some attribute their revelations to their physical endurance while others say their emotional fortitude allowed them to persevere. Similar to the emotional changes brought on by trauma, personality characteristics define a person behaviors and beliefs. Hemingway shows Santiago as a non-Christ figure to convey the value of emotional control, struggles of self-value and usefulness of elders in society.
Ernest Hemingway emphasizes the value of emotional control through his protagonists’ struggle. Santiago demonstrates his lack of religious faith, and excess of logical faith when he says, “Now that I have him [the marlin] coming so beautifully, God help me endure. I’ll say a hundred Our Fathers and a hundred Hail Marys. But I cannot say them now” (87).This passage reveals Santiago’s rejection of religion and Christendom, arguing that prayer is only necessary should he be successful. Having rejected his emotions, Santiago utilizes logic and rationale when hunting for the marlin. He discards baseball as a pastime, knowing that it is a distraction to his formal thought process when he states, “I wonder how the baseball came out in the grand leagues today, he thought. It would be wonderful to do this with a radio. Then he thought, think of it always. Think of what you are doing. You must do nothing stupid” (48). Hemingway reiterates the theme of emotional weakness in Indian Camp, where Nick and Dr. Adams view the Indian man’s death passively and apathetically. “‘Why did he kill himself, Daddy?’ ‘I don’t know, Nick. He couldn’t stand things, I guess’” (95). Nick reacts in an inquisitive tone representing the naïve nature of sympathy. Meanwhile, Dr. Adams replies in a nonchalant tone to avoid explaining the emotional burden of death to his son. Hemingway’s dialogue suggests that repressed sympathy is a scarce virtue, where few people are able to maintain their composure while in the face of gruesome death. By examining these passages, Santiago’s characterization as unreligious conveys the significance of emotional poise.
Hemingway suggests that self-worth is the key to a successful man’s life. Santiago first flaunts his pride when he’s crowned El Campeon of arm wrestling. “He decided that he could beat anyone if he wanted to badly enough...” (70). An example of Hemingway’s style, this passage encourages a man to build up his ego. In opposition, the biblical verse, “He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:35) suggests that Santiago’s personality reflects a prideful lifestyle that would not been exemplified by Jesus Christ. Santiago continues to elevate his egotistical nature when he sizes up the marlin during the hunt. “Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or nobler thing than you, brother”...

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