The Code of the Hero : in Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea

by Eklöf, Tobias

Abstract (Summary)
Title: The Code of the Hero in Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the SeaAuthor: Tobias EklöfEnglish C, 2006Abstract: By examining the depiction of Santiago, his actions, life style and role models as well as his close relation to the author I show how he grows from an old worn out man into a true hero by following a particular stance towards life; a code. The protagonist's approach to life and being put to the supreme test of overcoming bad luck, through the struggle with the marlin, creates a hero. In addition, the depiction of Santiago in terms of undefeated nature adds to his heroic proportions. The adversity of old age and the recent bad luck force the old man to challenge and defend his claimed championship. By catching and killing the ultimate opponent he recovers his selfhood. As I will show, there are two important role models providing the old man with strength and endurance during his battles. Joe DiMaggio gives the old man courage and stands as a symbol for the right way of living, a man who defied pain to achieve greatness. The boy Manolin provides the old man with strength as he plays the role of the observer, Santiago's audience. The boy is also the inheritor of the mastership, given by the protagonist. Both Joe DiMaggio and the boy Manolin fit Santiago's code and are therefore a direct source of inspiration. The results of Santiago's actions, of living according to his code, are illustrated through the ultimate sacrifice: crucifixion. The protagonist follows his code right to the very end, and is therefore undefeated, though facing physical defeat (loosing the fish to the sharks). The parallel between the old man and Christ's passion is created as a symbol for the inevitable; we are all going to die, what matters is how we live the life we are given. Christ never abandoned his belief and he eventually was crucified. Santiago chooses to stick to his code, and confront death with grace.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Karlstads universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:08/10/2006

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