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Old Man and Sea Essay

Essay by   •  October 30, 2010  •  Essay  •  608 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,527 Views

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Perserverance, Courage, and Wisdom Used in Everyday Life

Throughout a life, people have to overcome obstacle after obstacle to be successful in the world. Humans are thrown challenges day after day, week after week. Everyone must try hard at something to be truly happy in their life. In Ernest Hemingway's novel The Old Man and the Sea, he used the marlin and the sharks as symbols, and gave Santiago certain character attributes to depict the perserverance, courage, and smarts needed to get through the ups and downs that life hands everyone.

Santiago had gone 84 days without catching a fish and was about to surpass his previous record of 87 days, when there was a pull on his line. Santiago had finally caught a something. To make it even better, it was a marlin larger than his boat. Hemingway used this marlin to symbolize the struggle for life. Santiago was matched up against his perfect opponent to bring out the best in him. The marlin brought out his strength and courage to fight the fish for 3 days in his old age. Santiago had to overcome the fish to survive, to be a hero is his community and to himself. Towards the end of the story, Santiago told the fish, "I shouldn't have gone out so far fish, neither for you nor for me. I'm sorry fish" (110). Santiago was telling himself the experience brought out so much strength and courage in him, but it was hard for him to accept the defeat of the sharks devouring the marlin.

One contrast to the marlin is the sharks Santiago had to overcome in the end. This is the opposite type of opponent compared to the marlin. These sharks do not bring out the best in Santiago, but like the marlin, Santiago loses all strength while fighting these beasts. Santiago felt that fighting the marlin was worth his time because it would bring him glory. Fighting the sharks would only bring destruction. Only when the marlin had been entirely eaten away does Santiago give up, knowing he "was beaten now finally and without a doubt" (119). Even though Santiago has the feeling of defeat, the community finds him a hero for taking on that struggle and fighting until the end.

Ernest Hemingway gave Santiago many characteristics to give him the strength to battle the marlin, his feeling of hunger, and the sharks. One of the attributes was his wisdom. Santiago describes, "...I am glad we don't have to kill the stars. Imagine if each day

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