Closely related to the concept of stoicism is the "Code Hero," a phrase used to describe the main character in many of Hemingway's novels. Some critics regard Santiago as the finest, most developed example of these code heroes.
In this phrase, "code" means a set of rules or guidelines for conduct. In Hemingway's code, the principal ideals are honor, courage, and endurance in a life of stress, misfortune, and pain. Often in Hemingway's stories, the hero's world is violent and disorderly; moreover, the violence and disorder seem to win.
The "code" dictates that the hero act honorably in the midst of what will be a losing battle. In doing so he finds fulfillment: he becomes a man or proves his manhood and his worth. The phrase "grace under pressure" is often used to describe the conduct of the code hero.
Hemingway defined the Code Hero as "a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful." He measures himself by how well he handles the difficult situations that life throws at him. In the end the Code Hero will lose because we are all mortal, but the true measure is how a person faces death. He believes in "Nada," a Spanish word meaning nothing. Along with this, there is no after life.
The Code Hero is typically an individualist and free-willed. He never shows emotions; showing emotions and having a commitment to women shows weakness. Qualities such as bravery, adventuresome and travel also define the Code Hero.
Ironically, the code hero can also be afraid of the dark in that it symbolizes the void, the abyss, the nothingness (nada) that comes with death. However, once he faces death bravely and becomes a man he must continue the struggle and constantly prove himself to retain his manhood.
The code hero or heroine (like Catherine Barkley) must perform his or her work well to create a kind of personal meaning amidst the...