What the Hero
In The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, heroes are portrayed as regular humans who only differ through what they understand from their failures. Santiago performs actions that any other man would execute in the given situation; however he learns from his mistakes and is willing to teach others through his failures. As Santiago tried to overcome the boundaries set on him by nature, he came to the acceptance that man does not have to accomplish the greatest goal, and ultimately understood that the greatest accomplishment was persevering through defeat. A hero is not a person who comes back on top and receives all the glory; it is a person whose commitment to their lifestyle allows them to accept and grow from their mistakes into a person more aware of his place in the world. In Santiago’s journey on the sea, he goes out to far to try and catch the greatest fish he can as a fisherman. A fisherman’s goal in life is to catch the trophy fish and to be recognized as a great fisherman. However, by trying to live up to the standards set by society, one forgets that a human cannot do everything. Santiago’s “choice [had been] to go there to find him beyond all people[,] beyond all people in the world” (Hemingway 50), rather than look for his prize fish in the safety of human limits. Santiago believed that in order to catch the greatest fish in his career, he must go out to extraordinary lengths, to places where no human would safely venture. However, once Santiago’s journey had been completed, he acknowledges that he “went out too far” (Hemingway 120). Santiago was beaten by only the problems he set out for himself; his excitement in catching the greatest fish shrouded the reality of what he was doing. Santiago realized too late that it was not worth it to kill himself and the fish in the search for self-pride. By pushing the barriers of one’s safety, Santiago understands that completing the greatest task is not worth it if you are damaging yourself...
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