Old Man and the Sea

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Jolene Wold
English 102-002
6 April 2011
Victory or Defeat
Ernst Hemingway’s story, The Old Man and the Sea, the main character Santiago faces many challenges during his time at sea. Ultimately, The Old Man and the Sea is a tale of victory shown through Santiago’s attitudes and actions.

For instance, Santiago’s confidence makes him victorious. Manolin is not allowed to fish with Santiago because his father does not have faith Santiago will catch any fish. Santiago reassures Manolin he will again be lucky. Santiago convinces Manolin he can take on a large fish by himself because he is strong and has tricks. Before sailing off for his fishing trip, Santiago tells Manolin, “I feel confident today” (Hemingway 634). Santiago knows he is going far out and embraces the adventure by leaving the land behind and welcoming the smell of the ocean. When Santiago first sees his pole dip and holds the line he knows what is biting. Santiago is old and has fished the ocean for many years. Dwight Eddins of the Hemingway Review says Santiago will use “the strength of his spirit and his determination to sustain him.” (Eddins 70). Santiago is confident in his strength and skills which makes his journey a victorious one.

Santiago shows The Old Man and the Sea is a story of victory because he fought off sharks in order to bring his catch back to shore. Although, others may view the story as one of defeat since Santiago came back to shore empty handed. According to Clinton S. Burhans Jr. and Harold Bloom of Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations, “For in killing the great marlin and losing him to the sharks, the old man learns the sin into which men inevitably fall [into] by going far out beyond their depth, beyond their true place in life” (Bloom and Burhans Jr 45.). When the sharks come, Santiago sees their arrival as a punishment for killing the great fish. After killing the marlin Santiago begins to feel remorse and does not feel a sense of accomplishment or victory....
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