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The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway Essay

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Some people will go far in order to get what they want, but how many individuals would be willing to die for the sake of creating their own fate? Deciding one’s meaning of life with sincerity and passion is the core of existentialism. This philosophy plays an integral part in Hemingway’s writing, as well as his personal life. Paradigms of existentialism appear often in Hemingway’s book, The Old Man and the Sea, especially when Santiago, the old man, is determined to fell the great marlin he pursues, wants to prove to Manolin how much of a strange old man he is, and contends against the brutal sharks when there is little chance of him succeeding.
The Old Man and the Sea focuses its plot mainly on Santiago’s struggle against the marlin. Existentialism makes its appearance when Santiago chooses to pursue the marlin, stay with it the entire way, and fight tooth and nail at the end. “My choice was to go there to find him beyond all people,” is how Santiago explains his actions to challenge the fish (Hemingway 50). He mentions how he was born to be a fisherman, and by chasing the marlin, he will give his life the meaning for existence. Santiago also insists on staying with the fish until one of them is dead, which exemplifies his will to fulfill his goals in life. He endures obstacles such as nausea, cramps, and sleep deprivation because he does not want to give up and surrender his fate. When it comes down to the final struggle, Santiago pits all of the pain, strength, and pride he has left against the fish in order to bring it down. Despair begins to creep in when Santiago finds it hard to pull in the marlin, but he overcomes it with every ounce of will he has. He knows that it is up to him to create this important moment in his li...


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...Biograhy. DVD.

"Existentialism." Philosophy - AllAboutPhilosophy.org. Web. 16 Sept. 2011.
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Hemingway, Ernest. "Indian Camp, Hills Like White Elephants." The Complete Short Stories of
Ernest Hemingway. New York: Scribner's, 1987. Print.

Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Macmillan, 1986. Print.

"The Influence of Ernest Hemingway - Introduction." Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed.
Thomas J. Schoenberg Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 162. Gale Cengage, 2005. eNotes.com. 16 Sep, 2011 .

"University of Delaware: ERNEST HEMINGWAY IN HIS TIME." University of Delaware
Library. Special Collections, 21 Dec. 2010. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. .


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