Heroism in the Story of the Old Man and the Sea

Heroism in the Story of the Old Man and the Sea

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Heroism in the Story of the Old Man and the Sea

A hero is any man who is unusually brave, noble in deeds that are accepted morally and ethically. Odysseus, Julia Caesar, Napoleon, and Prometheus are hero models representing a desire for exaltation and nobility. People are supposed to imitate or learn from a heroic character. Social and political factors may also dictate what defines a hero. Heroes are models for overcoming life’s harsh realities. The hero presented by Hemingway is strong, compassionate, kind, hardworking, and strong-willed. His fellow fishermen and community see him as a symbol of defeat, and bad luck. However, he conquers the waters, and the right time comes for him to stand as a symbol of endurance and heroism.

In literature, traditional hero characters have taken various forms. Santiago plays the primary role in the book “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway. This is a story of a struggle between an old Cuban fisherman with his life’s greatest catch. He had gone out to look for a catch but was unsuccessful for 84 days returning home empty-handed. His only friend, a boy named Manolin whom he had taught to fish, looked after him even after his parents did not allow. He keeps him company in the sea and helps him fixing his yacht, as well as bringing him some food. On the 85th day, a marlin caught the bait. Together with the fish, both struggled for success. Out of this struggle, he developed compassion for the fish as it was fighting for its life. He eventually managed to kill the marlin after three days and nights of bruises, exhaustion, and optimism. His catch made him think about how unappreciative his buyers would be. Upon going home, the marlin left atrial of blood, which attracted sharks. Santiago fought the sharks to no fruition. They attacked his kill leaving only a skeleton. Santiago was a poor man living in poverty with no good place to sleep, with only old trousers as a pillow and newspapers to cover him, and only relying on the fish to take him through his days. After losing the fight, he went to his shack and slept deeply ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”8h1XDmP7″,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Hemingway 8)”,”plainCitation”:”(Hemingway 8)”,”noteIndex”:0},”citationItems”:[{“id”:692,”uris”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”uri”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”itemData”:{“id”:692,”type”:”book”,”abstract”:”The Classics”,”ISBN”:”978-614-413-403-0″,”language”:”en”,”note”:”Google-Books-ID: _NRmDwAAQBAJ”,”number-of-pages”:”128″,”publisher”:”World Heritage Publishers Ltd”,”source”:”Google Books”,”title”:”The Old Man and The Sea”,”author”:[{“family”:”Hemingway”,”given”:”Ernest”}],”issued”:{“date-parts”:[[“2015″,1,1]]}},”locator”:”8″,”label”:”page”}],”schema”:”https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json”} (Hemingway 8). He was heartbroken after struggling to save his ‘brother,’ the marlin, only to be attacked and eaten by the sharks.

Santiago was a man depicted as unlucky. His fellow anglers, after seeing the skeleton of the marlin, only pitied his life. We see a man with strength and confidence, fishing alone with only a boy as an apprentice. Confidently, he wakes up every day with optimism even after several unlucky attempts to catch a single fish. The image is that of a wrinkled old man who is scarred from handling heavy fishing equipment in a fishless desert. However, “everything about him was old except his eyes. And they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated” ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”9Mxe60tS”,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Hemingway 12)”,”plainCitation”:”(Hemingway 12)”,”noteIndex”:0},”citationItems”:[{“id”:692,”uris”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”uri”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”itemData”:{“id”:692,”type”:”book”,”abstract”:”The Classics”,”ISBN”:”978-614-413-403-0″,”language”:”en”,”note”:”Google-Books-ID: _NRmDwAAQBAJ”,”number-of-pages”:”128″,”publisher”:”World Heritage Publishers Ltd”,”source”:”Google Books”,”title”:”The Old Man and The Sea”,”author”:[{“family”:”Hemingway”,”given”:”Ernest”}],”issued”:{“date-parts”:[[“2015″,1,1]]}},”locator”:”12″,”label”:”page”}],”schema”:”https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json”} (12).

The author presents the battle of man and nature as a morally noble one. As a fisherman, his profession puts him through life struggles, but he faces them with a brave face and strength. His daily life is demanding, and a man like him requires a patient and enduring character. While in on his daily work, sharks attack him. Knowing very well that he may not salvage his catch, he makes his ultimate goal defeating them by killing as many as he could. His struggles did not yield to fruition, but he is a hero having to fight with and for the marlin, creatures that were many times more powerful than he was. From the story, Santiago is an old man with perseverance, strength, and willingness than most people of his old age lack. After a strenuous effort, he caught the fish. He struggled to kill the shark that attacked his catch. What is thrilling is the fact that he had compassion for the creature, fighting the sharks despite his failing strength. Santiago’s inner strength enables him to fight further to catch the marlin, even with his feeble body. In his monologue trying to lure the fish to the bait, he says that he will fight it until it dies ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”sjlL3ptm”,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Hemingway 115)”,”plainCitation”:”(Hemingway 115)”,”noteIndex”:0},”citationItems”:[{“id”:692,”uris”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”uri”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”itemData”:{“id”:692,”type”:”book”,”abstract”:”The Classics”,”ISBN”:”978-614-413-403-0″,”language”:”en”,”note”:”Google-Books-ID: _NRmDwAAQBAJ”,”number-of-pages”:”128″,”publisher”:”World Heritage Publishers Ltd”,”source”:”Google Books”,”title”:”The Old Man and The Sea”,”author”:[{“family”:”Hemingway”,”given”:”Ernest”}],”issued”:{“date-parts”:[[“2015″,1,1]]}},”locator”:”115″,”label”:”page”}],”schema”:”https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json”} (115). Rather than only bravery being the main character of a hero, Santiago adds courage through pain and struggles to catch the marlin. The fishing line cut deeply into his palm as he was pulling the line. Without inner strength, he may not have become motivated to succeed and overcome his major hindrance. Usually, with weak will power, it is challenging to accomplish a task as hard as Santiago’s. Throughout, Santiago wonders whether the fish deserves to be killed and even eaten after demonstrating nobility, intelligence, and strength

Today, lessons to draw from the story are compassion, resilience, hard work, kindness, and optimism. No matter his hard life, his eyes were full of cheer, which is unlikely for an old man with no catch for several days. Santiago demonstrated great love and admiration for nature. He considers the marlin to be intelligent. Other heroism traits are seen from the way he benefited from the fish’s struggle for its life ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”GuoTLYUf”,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Hemingway 42)”,”plainCitation”:”(Hemingway 42)”,”noteIndex”:0},”citationItems”:[{“id”:692,”uris”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”uri”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”itemData”:{“id”:692,”type”:”book”,”abstract”:”The Classics”,”ISBN”:”978-614-413-403-0″,”language”:”en”,”note”:”Google-Books-ID: _NRmDwAAQBAJ”,”number-of-pages”:”128″,”publisher”:”World Heritage Publishers Ltd”,”source”:”Google Books”,”title”:”The Old Man and The Sea”,”author”:[{“family”:”Hemingway”,”given”:”Ernest”}],”issued”:{“date-parts”:[[“2015″,1,1]]}},”locator”:”42″,”label”:”page”}],”schema”:”https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json”} (42). Its talent and strength made him test his abilities under the very high competitive circumstance. An angler should persuade and convince their foe, rather than butcher, an overpower it, as seen from a tug-of-war episode between Santiago and the marlin.

His apprentice, Manolin, told him there were excellent and great fishermen, but Santiago was the only one of his kind. Therefore, to Mandolin, he was the greatest hero ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”joauXpTS”,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Hemingway 23)”,”plainCitation”:”(Hemingway 23)”,”noteIndex”:0},”citationItems”:[{“id”:692,”uris”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”uri”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”itemData”:{“id”:692,”type”:”book”,”abstract”:”The Classics”,”ISBN”:”978-614-413-403-0″,”language”:”en”,”note”:”Google-Books-ID: _NRmDwAAQBAJ”,”number-of-pages”:”128″,”publisher”:”World Heritage Publishers Ltd”,”source”:”Google Books”,”title”:”The Old Man and The Sea”,”author”:[{“family”:”Hemingway”,”given”:”Ernest”}],”issued”:{“date-parts”:[[“2015″,1,1]]}},”locator”:”23″,”label”:”page”}],”schema”:”https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json”} (23). A man as old as Santiago, with failing physical strength may not have been brave to fight against the shark, to save his catch and make a living out of it. This literary work is to remind us that not all heroes may succeed in their quest. However, a story of heroism results from bravery and will to conquer whatever obstacle presenting in the way.

Throughout the story, Santiago faces challenges and adversities, which he overcomes with a brave persona. He motivates himself that can only be destroyed but cannot be defeated ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”pLrCYtU7″,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Hemingway 105)”,”plainCitation”:”(Hemingway 105)”,”noteIndex”:0},”citationItems”:[{“id”:692,”uris”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”uri”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/IGDTMT4M”],”itemData”:{“id”:692,”type”:”book”,”abstract”:”The Classics”,”ISBN”:”978-614-413-403-0″,”language”:”en”,”note”:”Google-Books-ID: _NRmDwAAQBAJ”,”number-of-pages”:”128″,”publisher”:”World Heritage Publishers Ltd”,”source”:”Google Books”,”title”:”The Old Man and The Sea”,”author”:[{“family”:”Hemingway”,”given”:”Ernest”}],”issued”:{“date-parts”:[[“2015″,1,1]]}},”locator”:”105″,”label”:”page”}],”schema”:”https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json”} (105). Almost when he seems to be failing, he reminds himself that he should remain true to his moral code and exercise fidelity in his goal. A true hero, therefore, must remember that he has a role to play in his life. A hero becomes triumphant when he combines his inner strength and remains calm in the face of adversity, and have a glimpse of hope in the chaotic world.

Santiago, apart from having Mandolin as his friend who gave him company, brought him food and coffee, he also prayed to God for strength during such trying times in his life. A hero needs dignity, freedom, and reliance on a supreme being to guide and give them the strength to face adversities. This shows that a hero will repeatedly have to toil in his journey. He should prove that he is capable of doing what he sets ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”1mYpLpz7″,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Bloom)”,”plainCitation”:”(Bloom)”,”noteIndex”:0},”citationItems”:[{“id”:694,”uris”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/ETZP7YGN”],”uri”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/ETZP7YGN”],”itemData”:{“id”:694,”type”:”book”,”abstract”:”Hemingway’s last work published during his lifetime remains one of his most popular and best known. A man’s symbolic quest to land the catch of a lifetime engages classic themes of the human struggle against nature as well as explores the intersection of expectation and desire. Filled with fresh essays about the book, the new edition of this invaluable literary guide features a bibliography and notes on the essay contributors, as well as an introductory essay by master scholar Harold Bloom.”,”ISBN”:”978-1-60413-147-5″,”language”:”en”,”note”:”Google-Books-ID: zmYAo0iqlVQC”,”number-of-pages”:”255″,”publisher”:”Infobase Publishing”,”source”:”Google Books”,”title”:”Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea”,”author”:[{“family”:”Bloom”,”given”:”Harold”}],”issued”:{“date-parts”:[[“2008″]]}}}],”schema”:”https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json”} (Bloom). Like Santiago, after his fellow anglers gave up on the fishing line, he went ahead and to catch the marlin. He fearlessly and tirelessly fought for his ‘brother’ against the sharks. This is because he had developed an attachment to it trying to catch it. He fought relentlessly to the end, even when he did not see a glimpse of hope.

A hero is often appreciated with an uproar of applause upon the accomplishment of a heroic act. After Santiago had lost his fight to the sharks, he went home with the skeleton of his ‘brother’ in the dark of the night unnoticed. His shanty structure of a house and bed were the things that welcomed his heroic act ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”nwheoUJe”,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Bloom)”,”plainCitation”:”(Bloom)”,”noteIndex”:0},”citationItems”:[{“id”:694,”uris”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/ETZP7YGN”],”uri”:[“http://zotero.org/users/local/rEYGfGF8/items/ETZP7YGN”],”itemData”:{“id”:694,”type”:”book”,”abstract”:”Hemingway’s last work published during his lifetime remains one of his most popular and best known. A man’s symbolic quest to land the catch of a lifetime engages classic themes of the human struggle against nature as well as explores the intersection of expectation and desire. Filled with fresh essays about the book, the new edition of this invaluable literary guide features a bibliography and notes on the essay contributors, as well as an introductory essay by master scholar Harold Bloom.”,”ISBN”:”978-1-60413-147-5″,”language”:”en”,”note”:”Google-Books-ID: zmYAo0iqlVQC”,”number-of-pages”:”255″,”publisher”:”Infobase Publishing”,”source”:”Google Books”,”title”:”Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea”,”author”:[{“family”:”Bloom”,”given”:”Harold”}],”issued”:{“date-parts”:[[“2008″]]}}}],”schema”:”https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json”} (Bloom). He thought how undeserving it was for the failure of people to applaud his struggle though a night of sharks. Instead, he felt defeated. Upon waking up in the morning to find the marlin’s skeleton, his fellow anglers only pitied his life. However, his only friend remained worried about him and brought him food and coffee, and was happy to find him safe in his bed. Therefore, instead of losing hope, he accepts his struggle as a balance of nature. Though he was destroyed, he was not defeated.

In conclusion, Santiago nobly accepted his physical suffering to determine his success. Through the struggle with the fish, he desired to know and understand what is in his ability to do, and what he can endure out of the battle. Heroes always struggle for triumph. How a man responds in a chaotic situation is what truly defines them as a hero. Nature, however, has a way of bringing to balance a man’s ambition for greatness. Santiago only hoped to make a kill after struggling for 84 days without any form of reward to his efforts. By these doings, he ended up being represented in literary works as a hero. This was such a best reward he received, the status of being a hero. Nothing should inhibit a hero’s ambitions. He is also an example to his little friend, Manolin, teaching him the characteristics of a worrier, which include morality, hard work, tenacity, and perseverance.

Works Cited

ADDIN ZOTERO_BIBL {“uncited”:[],”omitted”:[],”custom”:[]} CSL_BIBLIOGRAPHY Bloom, Harold. Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Infobase Publishing, 2008.

Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and The Sea. World Heritage Publishers Ltd, 2015.