Old man and the Sea: Parable of Man's Struggle with Natural Forces
The "Old man and the sea" is about life', which is the finest and most ambitious thing for a parable to be about. Hemingway has written about life: a struggle against the impossible odds of unconquerable natural forces in which-given such a fact as that of death-a man can only lose, but which he can dominate in such a way that his loss has a dignity, itself the victory. Santiago is Hemingway's code hero who illustrates the values of life that Hemingway cherished and glorified all his life-courage, dignity, honour, conscientiousness, dedication, endurance. A man may grow old and be wholly down on his luck, but he can still dare, persist when he is defeated or thwarted, and thus by manner of his losing can win a victory. And the rules' must not be lost sight of- the procedure, the technique, the craft, the skill. And this is applicable to life as a whole, to man's earthly existence, to the heavy odds which man has to face and which he must not shrink from even in the sure knowledge of losing the fight. Santiago is a humble fisherman who believes in his work and in his discipline, performing what he is born for. He fights the biggest fish he has ever encountered, and he fights determinedly for hours, summoning all his strength and his all will. He speaks to the fish of his love and respect for it, but "I will kill you dead before this day ends", he says to it. It is his wish to prove his worth against a worthy adversary, which sustains him in his time for distress. The sight of the fish is a further spur, for here at last, before his eyes, is the enormous quarry. "I will show him what a man can do and what a man endures". If the Oldman wins, he will have proved his worth to himself once more which is the proof men need in order to continue the endurance contest that is life. On a symbolic level, the killing of the giant Marlin means attaining one's goal in life, a goal that may be very distant...
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