The Old Man and the Sea


Word Count: 1456

In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway describes an old
fisherman and the unfortunate trials he faces as his "luck" runs out.
Through the novel, the fisherman, Santiago, replicates Hemingway\'s ideal man,
a noble hero. Hemingway had a Code of Behavior that he himself followed. He
had morals that were strict and an appreciation for instinct and human
nature. He had a specific way of living life and an understanding of time.
He believed in taking risks and acting upon instinct. He believed that a
person who followed his Code of Behavior was a noble hero. In Hemingway\'s
Code of Behavior, a noble hero is a master craftsman. This means that he is
not dependent on other people or on technology. It also means that he is a
master at his art and he keeps practicing it in order to better himself. The
second characteristic of a noble hero is that he struggles in order to remain
undefeated. This means that he does anything possible to reach his goal. He
struggles and suffers in order to perfect his art and therefore, himself, "No
matter what kind of suffering and trial he has to go
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through he has to fulfill his destiny…"(Harada 270). The third
characteristic of Hemingway\'s noble hero is that he accepts defeat. Once he
is defeated, once he can better himself no more, he should stop trying
because, "He lives in time. And the goal of time is death and
destruction"(Harada 276). He should accept that he is no longer useful and
that he has been defeated. These three characteristics define Hemingway\'s
ideal man. In The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago exemplifies Hemingway\'s Code
of Behavior for a noble hero.
In the novel, Santiago is a master craftsman. He is only dependent on
himself. While the other fishermen use motor boats, Santiago uses his skiff.
While the other men have many workers and helpers who hold several lines,
Santiago has three lines all operated by his own hand. He is an expert,
"…the old man goes much farther out than the other fishermen and casts bait
in much deeper water"(Gurko 66). Because he knows the waters and the
movements of the fish, he has a better chance of catching the fish. Although
he is taking a greater risk by going out deeper, he has a better chance of
catching the bigger fish. Another thing that makes Santiago a master
craftsman is his experience. He has been a fisherman all his life.
Therefore he has had much time to master this art. Though many fishermen
might doubt him, he is great. He has skill and he applies it in order to
succeed. He uses his hands and he uses his instincts to master the art of
being a fisherman. Santiago uses himself, his physical and mental strength
to catch the fish, and by doing these things, his difficult task becomes
easier. He is a master craftsman not only through his skill, but also
through his determination.
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Determination defines the second characteristic that makes Santiago a
noble hero. He is determined and he struggles in order to remain undefeated.
Although he has gone 84 days without catching a fish, he does not give up.
He goes out on his 85th day with the mentality that this is the day when he
will catch a fish. This is what keeps him going. He knows that he still has
the ability and strength to be a good fisherman. He never gives up. After
catching the marlin, he states, "Fish…I\'ll stay with you until I am
dead"(52). This shows his determination to win the battle and the fish. He
has fought these battles hundreds of times before, he suffered, but he won.
Still this battle is different. He fights in a way he has never fought
before and he suffers. He suffers in catching the fish, killing the fish,
attempting to return home, and fighting off the sharks. But through all this
suffering, he still fights, "… for he alone has to endure the sufferings to
fulfill his destiny"(Harada 270). This is his mentality, he knows what he
must do and so, he does it. He never