The Black Balloon and the Old Man and The Sea are both clear but complex examples of Going it Alone. Going it Alone is represented as a choice we must make with courage in defiance of the pressures of peers and society through some key symbolic scenes and reoccurring motifs in both texts.
In the movie Black Balloon, Elissa Downs expresses going it alone through Thomas forming his own identity, being able to connect and embrace his autistic brother through his isolation from the general society. From the beginning of the movie Black Balloon the viewer is immediately exposed to Thomas’ experience of Going it Alone. Thomas is introduced as a new boy in town, who faces the adversity and exclusion of his school peers. This is strongly represented in the swimming pool, where Thomas’ bright yellow Speedos for swimming are greatly contrasted to the rest of the swimmers. Not only that, but Thomas’ physical difference of being a relatively small, white, discreet person compared to his muscular schoolmates reflects to an extent his social barriers to the rest of society. Furthermore, Thomas seems to be the only person that struggles to swim, in saying this, it metaphorically represents Thomas’ struggle in his life. This struggle and contrast of Thomas to his school friends are crucial to the aspects of going it alone in the movie, and not only Thomas is different because of his brother Charlie, but he is also a social ‘outcast’ from his school friends.
Ernest Hermingway’s novella, The Old Man and The Sea characterizes Santiago as an old man who is going it alone from struggling against defeat. In the opening paragraph, Santiago has been without fish for 84 days, and will soon pass his own record of 87 days. Almost as a reminder of Santiago’s struggle, the sail of his skiff resembles “the flag of permanent defeat”.