Old Man and the Sea

Essay by t1010University, Bachelor'sA+, July 2004

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The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway, is a great work of literature. I found this book to be a good reading for a course such as "The Common Course"; it is an excellent example of humanity. Hemingway uses this novel as a symbol of the human condition: the struggle to survive and maintain one's dignity in a cruel and heartless world. While reading this novel, I felt sorry for Santiago, yet at the same time, admiration for his will not to give up.

Santiago is a character that can be seen in many different perspectives such as a hero, just an ordinary fisherman, a wise man, or an unlucky old man. Hemingway portrays this old man as motivated, passionate, and hopeful. The older fishermen of the village respect Santiago while the younger fisherman view him as just an old man with bad luck. Santiago chose not to see what others thought but instead lived by how he perceived the world.

Santiago's determination to kill the marlin throughout the novel is very admirable. He never gives up. Santiago fights nature in the form of terrible forces and dangerous creatures: a marlin, sharks, hunger, and old age. He sees the sea; however, as well as the great marlin, as a companion. Santiago is a part of nature and goes with the flow; he does not fight against it. Nature caused his hand pain yet healed it, caused his hunger yet satisfied it, and gave him the fish yet reclaimed it. This is the way nature works. Nature can shift life back and forth with the greatest of ease. One of the messages that I took from this book is that sometimes you will have luck in life, and sometimes you won't. Santiago's constant struggles on his fishing...