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Old Man and the Sea

By domokun6969 Jan 13, 2013 1114 Words
Santiago’s Quest in Life
Perseverance is what makes people successful in life. Whether if it is doing well in a particular subject in school or helping one’s soccer team win the tournament, it all requires hard work and determination. Goals in life are not just handed to someone, but it is earned through one’s ability to strive and achieve that goal. Giving up is not an option because it does make one’s life more manageable. There is no turning back and avoiding the situation because things could go much worse. Everyone has their own obstacles in life and the only way to conquer them is to deal with them face-to-face, no excuses. In the novel, The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway, an old fisherman named Santiago witnesses a life filled of courage in the face of defeat. In a small village near Havana, Cuba, and in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is where the triumphant man deals with the biggest opponent in his lifetime. As a relentless fisherman willing to take chances, Santiago relied on his indomitable spirit to face inevitable battles with himself and the outside world. At first, the old man may seem to be the worst fisherman out there with his record of eighty-four days of not catching a single fish, but as his journey in life began to unravel, his pride in his occupation kept him going. The statistics were horrific yet that did not stop this old man from doing what he loved best, fishing. Santiago revealed, “Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for” (Hemingway 50). Nothing could stop Santiago from doing what he did best. Fishing was his life and that can never be taken away from him. The description of Santiago noted, “Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated” (Hemingway 10). One can look into the eyes of Santiago and instantly see the hard-working and persistent character of this fisherman. Hovey reveals that: Santiago is unique among Hemingway heroes. By chance, not by choice, is his manhood challenged. He is not on a battlefield or in a bullring or meeting a lion's charge or otherwise facing the likelihood of sudden death--nor is he recovering from a wound. With a long streak of bad luck behind him, Santiago at the start is more like, say, a farmer who has had a series of poor harvests. His predicament is that of average humanity in its day-to-day effort to keep going. (Hovey). His motivation in what he does as a fisherman is what keeps him going day after day. In addition, there was a young boy, Manolin, who was inspired by Santiago. Manolin insisted, “There are many good fishermen and some great ones. But there is only you” (Hemingway 23). Although Santiago had a poor reputation as a fisherman among others, Manolin looked up to Santiago as his role model. Their relationship was undeniable. Manolin respected Santiago and in return, Santiago treated him like his own son. Santiago’s desire to catch some fish was boosted due to the encouragement and praise by Manolin. He greeted Santiago in the mornings, helped with preparing the boat, and had conservations with him which made Santiago exuberant. That very day Santiago set out into ocean on the 85th day was the day a new streak began. The adventures at sea were tiresome and extremely aggravating yet Santiago outlasted the three long days and pulled through. His struggles with this threatening marlin proved to be a bitter battle. It was not a simple task and it required patience. Santiago would not give up. At times, he was very lonely. Santiago pointed out, “I wish I had the boy. To help me and to see this” (Hemingway 48). Throughout the quest, Manolin would always be on his mind. The brawl between Santiago and the marlin would last for a couple of days. Santiago had no plans of letting it go as he stated, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends” (Hemingway 54). The endeavor would turn out to be a hard-fought victory by Santiago yet victory came with costs. As Santiago tried to drag the marlin back home, it was eaten up by sharks but he managed to hold on to the bones, proving that he did achieve his goal. Santiago commented, “But a man is not made for defeat, he said. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” (Hemingway 103). Santiago’s ability to put up with this kind of encounter truly proved his determination as a fisherman. He even showed some sympathy for the marlin, as Oliver stated, “Santiago has several of the characteristics of the modern tragic hero. He loves fishing and the sea, and even after he has killed the marlin, he reflects a sort of spiritual forgiveness in his way of killing animals, not for sport but for food or clothing” (Oliver). It is evident, as Oliver said, “Santiago becomes one with the fish, one with nature, and the words he uses to describe the fish are clear and direct” (Oliver). Nature especially the ocean was Santiago’s second home; the fish are like the objects in the house. Finally, when Santiago arrived back home after three days, Manolin was there to help the old man with food and medical help. Regardless of what happens, Manolin promises to be his fishing partner and work together in unity. On the whole, Santiago truly possessed the characteristics of a fisherman. His pride was the source of his fortitude. Nothing could stop Santiago from doing what he devoted his life to. More importantly, he did not quit after enduring those eighty-four days of hardship. He accepted this challenge and overcame it all through the end. All in all, people can say that Santiago was simply a hero. Despite no one saw his accomplishment with the marlin, he put up an exceptional performance. He met face-to-face with defeat yet Santiago’s pride was what motivated him to catch that marlin. In Manolin’s eyes, he truly believed he was the best fisherman. There is no doubt that Manolin had a major impact and influence on Santiago. Without him, he probably would not have been able to do everything on his own. Santiago worked his way to the top by achieving his goals. He certainly did not give up on life. Through persistence and diligence, it is possible to be successful in life.

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