4 March 2011
Honor, Courage, and Endurance of an Old Man on His Journey
The well known American author Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, who is the author of the famous book The Great Gatsby, included many of his real life stories in this work of fiction. In The Great Gatsby, the Narrator’s name is Nick. Fitzgerald, just like Nick, went into the war and came out alive. Fitzgerald wrote about Tom Buchanan in the same book which was a reflection to his addiction to girls and beer. Also, Gatsby reflected Fitzgerald’s limited personal wealth which resulted in sadness. Just like Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway put most of his life stories into his books. In Our Time, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and To Have and Have Not are just some books that included Hemingway’s life stories. Hemingway was in Cuba where he wrote the book The Old Man and the Sea that was inspired by a Cuban fisherman. In Hemingway’s book, the Cuban fisherman’s name is Santiago and he is the main character. Hemingway made the character interesting by adding some of his personal hobbies as the hobbies of his character. Hemingway was interested in “bull-fighting, deep-sea fishing, and big-game hunting” (Mascuch), so Santiago was also interested in deep-sea fishing. Hemingway was also on a fishing trip to Bimini where he caught marlins; Santiago caught a marlin with determination that brought him news worthy talk among the people and life lessons. Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea presents the characteristics of honor, courage and endurance in the book’s heroic protagonist. The heroic protagonist embraces honor throughout his journey which make him untouchable in the struggle for the fish. Even though Santiago knows that he might not catch a fish he still keeps his hope up and tries to catch one because he knows that determination will bring him honor. “He has gone eighty-four days without a fish” (Williams and Bloom). Santiago also takes on great risk by going too far out into the sea, making him vulnerable to sharks and other giant sea creatures. The experts Burhans and Bloom state that after he hooks the great marlin, he [the marlin] fights him [Santiago] with epic skill and endurance, showing “what a man can do and what a man endures” (Hemingway 93). Santiago also ignores the hardships of catching the fish and stays with it until the end his determination to find what he started. This brings out honor because Santiago takes great pride in the power of his opponent who also shows great determination not to lose a fight. Burhans and Bloom state that when the sharks come, Santiago is determined to “fight them until I die” (Hemingway 115) because he knows that “man is not made for defeat....A man can be destroyed but not defeated” (Hemingway 113). Santiago feels so close to the fish he thinks, “I wish I could feed the fish.... He is my brother. But I must kill him and keep strong to do it” (Hemingway 43). This shows that Santiago’s determination to capture such a strong opponent and to kill it as if it were his brother brings him honor because he alone did the killing of such a worthy opponent. He loves the fish in a brotherly kind of love, even as he kills it. As Santiago is coming home from sea he encounters a few packs of sharks. To ward off the sharks, Santiago decides to take out his harpoon. He drives a harpoon at the first shark, he hits it “without hope, but with resolution and complete malignancy” (Hemingway 102). In the struggle that Santiago has with the sharks; from his boat with his catch hanging overboard, the sharks are winning the battle because they are eating the catch. In the end, the fish is torn apart but the skeleton of the fish and his spirit of Santiago remain together. Santiago is honored when he returns home with the skeleton, “fisherman [sic] have gathered around the old man's skiff to look at the enormous skeleton tied to the side. One of the fishermen says the skeleton is eighteen feet...