Conventional Heroism: The Old Man and the Sea

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Santiago is rightfully seen as a heroic figure in this novella because he is an ordinary man with extraordinary hope. Santiago’s outlook on life is nothing short of a gift from God. Nothing, except Santiago himself, can defeat his viewpoint and the hope that he carries around with him always. A typical hero is thought to be made of iron and have no weaknesses. Although Santiago is not particularly fit like he was when he was younger, he’s a hero all the same. The reality that Santiago does not possess the powers of the green lantern, only appeals to the readers of this short story even more. This aspect is the key to unlocking the enchanting connection of the story and the reader; with a realistic character like Santiago, anyone can develop a connection with this story. Another thing that is worthy of heroic status is humility. Santiago is an exceedingly humble being. Living in a one room hut without running water is more than enough for anyone to complain about, yet Santiago does not. Also, on page 99 of the novella, after the massive Marlin has given up the three day struggle, the book reads “… they were sailing together lashed side by side and the old man thought, let him bring me in if it pleases him. I am only better than him through trickery and he meant me no harm”. Despite this great fortune in the plot of the story, Santiago goes through countless of pain and struggles. When something affects him negatively, he is not the person to blame outside sources. Who Santiago blames is solely himself. This aspect of Santiago is portrayed many times within this short story. During the very end of Santiago’s struggle with tying the marlin to the skiff and sailing back to the village, sharks begin to feed on the fish. On page 115, ... ... middle of paper ... ... returns to his village with the mere bones of the legendary fish and came to be a hero to his people. This only happened because Santiago pushed forward when everything before him fell. His attitude alone made him the village hero. Santiago is a brave, unbelievably optimistic, and prideful man. Nothing in his life will shake his morals and his integrities. Even facing death he is like a turtle swimming through poisonous waters (37). After being dragged through numerous encounters that should have taken his spirit completely, his heart still beats like a turtle’s heart after butchering. No one, apart from Santiago himself, can defeat his cheerful, uplifting spirit. However, the elderly fisherman’s state of mind is too stubborn and strong in his ways to allow defeating himself. This in itself keeps readers going and encourages anyone reading The Old Man and the Sea.

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