In Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea Hemingway uses the character of Santiago to display the strength of a common man. Santiago is the embodiment of the average, poor, working man. In the story of the Old Man and the Sea, Santiago displays great strength and courage in harsh situations. His strength and character is seen in his attitude toward the people of the village, his battle with the Marlin, and his battle with the sharks.
While out to sea Santiago manages to hook a large marlin. This marlin begins to pull on the line but instead of allowing the marlin to break the line and get away Santiago gives the line some slack and allows himself to be pulled out further into the sea. This is a display of Santiago's bravery. This marlin is very large and he does not want to risk losing it. As the marlin pulls Santiago holds the line over his shoulders. As the marlin pull this rope cuts into Santiago's back and causes him tremendous pain, but it is pain that he can handle. Santiago fights through this pain while still trying to think of ways to catch the marlin and making sure that he can stay alive. Santiago manages to catch other fish and eat them to feed himself, and he uses the little water he has left in a bottle to drink. Santiago also manages to get some rest from time to time. He endures all this pain and proves that he is strong, and that he isn't the frail, unlucky old man he is perceived as.
Santiago also displays ideal character. When the whole village has lost faith in him and considers him unlucky he is still able to laugh about it and accept what is said about him. He does not become angry or upset. Santiago used to take a boy named Manolin out with him fishing but now that Santiago is viewed as unlucky, the boy's parents don't want him with Santiago anymore. Santiago is not bothered by this and he still insists that the boy do what his parents wish of him.
And in Santiago's battle with the sharks he displays ideal...
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