The Old Man and the Sea

What are the old mans values?


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Hemingway's ideal of manhood is nearly inseparable from the ideal of heroism: Santiago's concept of masculinity are also his values. To be a man is to behave with honor and dignity: to not succumb to suffering, to accept one's duty without complaint and, most importantly, to display a maximum of self-control. The representation of femininity, the sea, is characterized expressly by its caprice and lack of self-control; "if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them" (30). The representation of masculinity, the marlin, is described as "great," "beautiful," "calm," and "noble," and Santiago steels himself against his pain by telling himself to "suffer like a man. Or a fish," referring to the marlin (92). In Hemingway's ethical universe, Santiago shows us not only how to live life heroically but in a way befitting a man.