The Old Man as well as the Sea


The Old Man plus the Sea is known as a novella that “should be read quickly and simply and seem short, ” Tolstoy writes in a letter to his friend Charles Scribner, “yet have all the proportions of the visible world as well as the world of a man’s spirit” (738).

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Out of admiration of Santiago’s 3-day long hand-to-hand combat, his dream of the African lion and his popular “destroyed but is not defeated” motto, “a male’s spirit” can often be believed to be represented by Santiago’s courage, durability, dignity, intelligence and strength, Philip Young praises Santiago’s struggle because “heroic” and his capability of “such decency, dignity” and “heroism” (100, 113). Likewise, Leo Gurko celebrates Old Male’s “stress in what man can do” on the world “where brave deeds are possible” and Santiago’s struggle as “transcended” (377-82). Gerry Brenner summarizes that Old Gentleman is often appear as a illusion to “feed our imaginative capacity to wonder, marvel, and become awed” and “satisfies the standard human would like to perform in larger-than-life ways” (10). Although is Santiago really a hero so courageous and confident, even a little fable-like as assumed? Is the hidden message of “man’s heart” really the one which is so unrealistically heroic and full of strength? Hemingway’s individual words may possibly suggest another story: “I tried to generate a real gentleman, a real young man, a real sea and an actual fish and real sharks” (74). In case it is meant to be “real, ” after that there might be a purpose to re-examine Santiago”a heroic figure too much taken for granted to surpass the normal.

A close reading of Hemingway’s hype reveals that Santiago stands not as a hero but since an old person desperately struggling with age, like any other regular old man. Santiago’s experience in sea foregrounds old age as his real adversary. The calm and seemingly confident appearance and violent fight with the fish and fishes, is a self-deception and self-defense. The strong extrinsic activities served, as opposed to what they are intended to cover, because lens by which we can see the fragile and bothered inside. This kind of finding not simply discloses the fierce and desperate internal fight under Santiago’s relaxed and assurance appearance yet may also serve as a way to begin to see the sadness portion “of man’s spirit” thus enriching the smoothness and making him more human.

In fact , the indication of Santiago’s dropped confidence is usually shown at the beginning paragraph of Old Man: “The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the banner of long lasting defeat” (5). The flour sacks patched sail is a symbol of a man. Because the next section describes, Santiago is with “deep-creased scars” and ” non-e ” that “[are] fresh” (6). When the old and worn cruise is seen as “the flag of permanent defeat”, it might be better understood as being a sign of his beat. In the same way, the shadow senior years casts about Santiago’s brain is one that really haunts: it announces not a simple defeat nevertheless a “permanent” one”one that every old man get as a final sentence”that the youth, with the confidence of youth, is finished forever, on the other hand much it can be wanted or maybe begged to settle. It’s a “permanent defeat. inch

It might not be a difficulty to accept the simple fact that Santiago is older, but it might take some effort to learn that Santiago’s seeming self-confidence is a disguise, for the message that Santiago is confident and strong is well established in the readers’ head by Hemingway’s carefully designed description. This kind of effort is visible throughout the novella, the beginning specifically. From the very beginning readers are constantly reminded of Santiago’s “cheerful, ” “undefeated” and “confident” sight (6, 8) and that “[h]is usually hope and his confidence had never gone” (8). These descriptions capture the readers inside the belief that Santiago remains full of durability, confidence and power. A better reading, yet , neutralizes all the claims which might be intentionally dissembled. Below are two dialogues between Santiago and Manolo:

“But are you strong enough right now for a truly big seafood? “

“I believe so¦. inches (9)

“There are numerous good fishermen and some superb ones. Although there is you only. “

“Thank you. You make me cheerful. I hope not any fish can come along so great that he will prove us wrong. inches

“There is no this sort of fish for anyone who is still because strong as you may say. inches

“I may not be as good as I think. “(16, emphasis added)

When his strength and confidence end up being the topic, Santiago gives a poor and incapable “I think so , inch other than a definite and positive answer. In the second conversation, he cautiously tries to find excuses pertaining to his feasible failure”this occurs even before this individual goes out to sea and encounters virtually any fish”a very clear exposure of his not enough confidence. The reason why he will not answer “no, I won’t be able to any more” might be twofold: he would not want to leave Manolo down and do not live up to his expectation, most importantly, he him self refuses to confess that this individual has lost his self confidence. The inner struggle, which starts long before any physical fight with the seafood and sharks, is the true battle field. It is not any encounter which has a “fish” “so big” which will make his self-confident waving, it truly is old age on its own that leads him to uncertainty, however unwilling he is to admit and accept this.

This point can be better demonstrated by looking into an additional of Hemingway’s short reports, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”:

“You possess youth, confidence, and a career, ” the older waitress said. “You have anything. “

“And what do you do not have? “

“Everything but work. “

“You have anything I have. inches

“No. I have never got confidence and i also am certainly not young. inch (105)

This dialogue among two waiters”one old, the other young”reveals directly the reason of the old mans waving confidence is the completing of “youth”, in other words, “not young, inches no longer youthful becomes the man’s genuine problem, in fact it is devastating. The old waiter can be as powerlessness since Santiago, the sole difference could be, while the old waiter gives up the struggle and acknowledges the sad truth, Santiago is still planning to denying this”though he would it with intelligence, calmness and dignity.

The have difficulty Santiago features of knowing his waning confidence and refusing to acknowledge it happens time and again during his fight with the big fish. Santiago’s monologues of reassurance to himself show his struggle: “¦I can last. You must last. No longer even talk about it” (65), “I are not good for many more turns. You actually are, he told him self. You’re best for ever” (68). These terms, rather than staying the demonstration of his strength and confidence, basically reveal his weakness. His repeatedly self-deception of making himself to believe positive and believe he could be able and good reveals the inner fight he provides against his weakness and tiredness.

Though Santiago tries hard to deny he is outdated and fatigued and is cautious of his words, you will still find slips of the tongue. After the long stressful struggle with the fish, he admits that, “I am a exhausted old man. inch He must have realized the potential hazard of knowing that he could be “tired” and “old””however authentic it is”so he immediately adds, “but I have wiped out this fish” (70). This individual surely thoughts his terms a lot, also in his monologue, and his sigh of being “tired” and “old” is too quickly covered up. But once he forgets to cover this and speak up his heart (maybe subconsciously): “I wonder if this individual[the big fish] has virtually any plans or if he’s just as anxious as I are? ” (35). Desperate may be the word to get his have a problem with old age. Careful as he is with his phrases, he simply cannot control his dreams, when the rational restrictions become loose and true feelings dominate. His frequent dreaming of the young lions on African beaches reveals, on the contrary to the belief that it shows his confidence and strength, that in fact uncovers his hoping and reminiscence for youth, confidence and strength. His dreams of young lions and daydreaming of the powerful Later on DiMaggio can easily both be concluded in one sentence Tolstoy notes by Santiago’s recollect of his arm-wrestling instance: “he recalled, to give himself more confidence, the time” he “played the hand game” (50). His dreams of lions, daydreaming of solid baseball participant and recalls of his own strong youth all serve as his way to get “more confidence”, the things he would not possess at this point. Were Santiago still since young and solid as the lions, Joe DiMaggio and his individual potent days and nights, he would not need to remind himself of those strong things to “give himself more confidence, inches the very act of trying to give himself more confidence actually reveals he does not have it.

Too often, it can be taken for granted that Santiago’s deal with is glorious and dignified and that Santiago is solid, confident and with wonderful perseverance. Yet , the failing to see Santiago’s troubled inside and his desperate combat with age produce him a hero not real and less human-like. A re-examination of his inner world might in order to a fuller and wealthier appreciation on this household physique and make old Santiago more real and nearer to life.

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