A slant on, "The Old Man and the Sea"

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Santiago: A Perfect Role Model for Manolin In the novel, "The Old Man and the Sea", Hemingway builds a character that is easily comparative to any great hero or idol in history. This character, named "Santiago" displays the characteristics needed to conquer his battles or at least do all he can to achieve his goals. This is especially important considering the fact that he is looked at as a mentor of sorts by another character, the young boy named "Manolin." Manolin has known the old man since the age of five. As a protege to Santiago, Manolin has grown to have a great deal of respect for the old man. This is represented by the boy's eagerness to stand by the old man's side no matter what the situation is. Santiago is the epitome of the human will, and a display for how courage and perseverance are able to win over difficulties that seem nearly impossible to overcome. Early in the novel, we see that the old man has fallen onto hard times in his fishing profession. This is not the first time this has happened though. It has been many days since his last catch and the situation looks very bleak to those who do not know the old man's desire and courage. They see the "wrinkles", and "cancer blotches" of an old man, but not the eyes, which "have remained unchanged." Most of the townspeople know of Santiago's seeming dismay, and their reactions to this are somewhat split. A good portion of the townspeople and fellow fishermen sympathize for Santiago and maintain a great deal of respect for this fallen hero. But the others shun him and his cursed fishing luck. They are superstitious and feel that he brings a dark cloud to loom over the village that will curse all of them with his exact bad luck. However, it is clear to the reader that it is what Santiago possesses, which the pessimistic fishermen do not, that gives the old man an overall advantage. This prized possession is identified by the reader as a strong will. It appears that Santiago has always coveted the strong will. Once known as "El Campeon", because of his remarkable arm-wrestling and fishing abilities, it appears that he still obtains this strong will inside him. As a humanitarian in the truest sense, he was more than willing to teach the young Manolin everything he knew of fishing while Manolin was just a very young child. In return, a great deal of admiration was formed by Manolin in recognition for the befriending by Santiago. Presently, however, Manolin, like many of the other fishermen isn't perfectly clear on how to react to the old man's predicament. He realizes that the old man is in an incredibly awful fishing drought, but he also remembers their perseverance in the past and the rewards they reaped for it. He decides that he will choose not to listen to others such as his father and what they have to say, and continue in support of his friend. As a sign of his loyalty, Manolin first asks the old man if he may accompany him on his next day's trip to sea. At first this plea is turned down by the old man. But after further bargaining and a bit of reminiscing of better times, the old man agrees to some help from the boy. The reluctance by Santiago shows his care for the boy's well-being. It is only the man's confidence in his redemption that allowed him to finally accept the boy's offer of help. Santiago's certainty in this "redemption" is bewildering to some, while Manolin has no trouble grasping the idea. This is because the qualities that have been instilled into the boy are the same as the old man's. They are truly thinking on the same wavelength. This separates, or isolates them from the rest of the village; but neither the boy nor the man really cares. Later in the book comes the hardest test of Santiago's mental and physical strengths. Finally, his chance for redemption, comes in the form of a VERY large fish. In fact, it is the largest fish the old man has ever attempted to catch. A great battle between the old man and the fish begins. This battle, however, is not one fueled by rage and frustration, but rather by courage and wills. The old man and the fish are similar in certain aspects. These aspects are recognized by the old man, and this is why the battle is such an honorable one seemingly on both ends of the rope. "There is a difference between 'killing' and the ceasing of letting an animal die." Santiago knows this, and he is well determined to bring in the mighty fish, and understandably so. "When an individual sees that all finite centers and loyalties are fleeting and incapable of being lasting objects of faith, then he will renounce all previous efforts in despair, repent in humility, and gratefully make the movement of faith by which alone his life can become meaningful and worthwhile." Yet at the same time his respect for the fish and honor of his own character smothers any chances of pure gratification for the redem

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