The Old Man and the Sea

Santiago: Transcending Heroism 11th Grade

In Ernest Hemingway’s work of literary brilliance, The Old Man and The Sea, Santiago finds himself pitted against a beauty of nature – a beast in the eyes of man. At first glance transcending the task of slaying the marlin is what makes Santiago a hero, but in retrospect there is much more than simply killing the brazen fish that defines Santiago’s true role as a heroic emblem. Through conquering his conflicts against the sea, its inhabitants, and even himself, Santiago proves that “a man can be destroyed but not defeated,” and ultimately cements his place as a unique hero in literature (103).

From the first line of the novella, a beaten tone is introduced and Santiago is pitted against his struggle with defeat. “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish;” instantly the audience is made aware of Santiago’s first of many obstacles (9). Santiago claims to be ridden of any former luck he may have had and the few background characters of the novel help to further express this opinion. His fellow fishermen pity him, and his one side companion is even forced to abandon him because of his infamous...

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