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Essay on The Character Santiago in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea

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The Character Santiago in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea


Hemingway has a way of making his readers believe that the feats and strengths that his characters obtain in his novels are actually possible. Although this statement may be too critical, and maybe there is a man out there, somewhere on the coast of Cuba who at this very moment is setting out to the open sea to catch a marlin of his own. The struggle many readers have is believing the story of Santiago’s physical powers and his strength against temptation bring forward the question of whether or not The Old Man and the Sea is worthy to be called a classic. Hemingway’s Santiago brought Faulkner and millions of other readers on their knees, while to some, believed Hemingway had swung his third strike. As we look further into Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, we can analyze the criticism and complications of the character Santiago. He is portrayed as a faulty Jesus, an unrealistic and inhuman man, and again still a hero to those who cannot find happiness in their life.


The great stories behind The Old Man and the Sea are what make it so wonderful. Because of this novels success released in 1952, it helped Hemingway ring in the Nobel Prize for 1954 for Hemingway (Hurse). He had a way of writing a good hearted, high spirited hero, who seemed in many ways to be at one with nature and himself. It is believed that Hemingway conjured up the character Santiago from a 92 year old man who crossed to Florida with other Cuban refugees (Baker 910). This makes sense considering Santiago is the main character, who is of old age. His characters although having many great qualities, still had struggles. Santiago is the man of hour, when speaking of The Old Man and the Sea. H...


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... minds of many with the great strength and patience: the passion that Santiago has for life, for nature, and for the harsh judgement of fellow fisherman.

Works Cited

Brenner, Gery. The Old Man and the Sea- The Story of a Common Man. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1991.

Waggoner, Eric: “Inside the Current: A Taoist Reading of The Old Man and the Sea.”
Hemingway Review Spring 1998 : 88 - 104.

Eddins, Dwight: “Of Rocks and Marling: The Existentialist Agon in Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus and Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.” The Hemingway Review; Fall 2001.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1952.
Baker, Carlos. Ernest Hemingway: A life Story. New York: Charles Scriber’s Sons, 1968, 1969.

Hurse, Caroline “Ernest Hemingway His Life and Works” Hemingway Images 1999



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