Relationship, External Nature and Dignity in The Old Man and The Sea
Man has always suffered his most to achieve his goal. However if one doesn’t experience the danger; will not be prepared to handle his problems. Experience is a part of life which gives man his true identity. Does this identity comes from one’s luck or struggle? Relationships on the other hand interpret strength and dignity. Ernest Hemingway has shown this through Manolin’s behavior. He is a young boy who follows Santiago and listen to his wisdom. If this dignity is eliminated will it effect there relationship? Santiago’s fight with nature symbolizes the troubles of existence. Does this mean that the outer existence is nothing but a perilous world?
Relationship, External nature and Dignity are the major themes in The Old Man and the Sea
A very important relationship in the novella The Old Man and the Sea is that between Manolin and Santiago. Manolin supports Santiago and helped him to confront his greatest challenge. Manolin proves this when he says, “I would like go fishing with you. I would like to serve you in some way” (p. 15). Manolin is the first person who appreciates Santiago’s experience and skills. He wants to be like Santiago and be a skillful fisherman (p.24). Manolin’s concern for Santiago is very significant to their relationship. It keeps the united even after a huge difference in their age. When Santiago returns after loosing his spectacular catch, it’s Manolin who cries at the sight of the wounds “he saw the old man’s hand and started to cry” (p. 122), and vows that he will never allow the old man to fish alone again. Therefore’ Manolin has proven his relationship to Santiago through his moral respect.
The danger confronting Santiago in the external nature represents the troubles of existence. Heminway’s, The Old Man and the Sea represents many meanings to the out side existence. The marlin for example represents struggle, trouble and the last challenge Santiago went through. Santiago’s struggle as a fisherman with marlin also symbolizes durability by putting up such a struggle. Accomplishing or obtaining something doesn’t always end one’s journey. Once Santiago hooked the fish (marlin) he still has further complications (p.57). First, the fish might dive to the bottom and break the line; second, it might die, and sink (p.72). The sharks bring him more trouble afterwards. The cost him to loose his stuff, “He took my harpoon and my rope (p.103). The sharks represent those who tear apart one’s success. Therefore, the external nature is nothing but affliction to the mankind.
Santiago’s dignity as a human being is established by the code of values he loves because he is a fisherman. His last experience as a fisherman gains him his ultimate victory when he goes out and fights nature in the form of terrible creatures, among them, a marlin and sharks. He starts the story in a small skiff and moves out in a journey to capture a fish after a long losing streak of eighty- four days (p. 25). Santiago comes upon a force bigger than his skiff, the marlin that misleads him out past his intended reach (p. 62). Santiago has struggled for three days, which is significant because for three days he continues to fight on though his goal may not acquire anything. But at last his great will power and pride provides him with his greatest victory. Santiago is a man with a great pride and courage. He proves this point through his statement “But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated” (p. 103). This old wrinkled man finally over comes the great force of nature, the marlin by following the code of the fisherman.
Finally this novella proves Santiago’s profession as a fisherman which leads him to his final perilous experience and his relationship with Manolin .This story has good points, for when it comes to the better parts of the story, it emphasizes by placing in mind step by step of the way Santiago does certain actions. Hemingway has merged three themes already mentioned above successfully unto this book. Among them are Relationship, External Nature, and the code of dignity. The obvious ones are nature; it’s cruelty and compassion. Nature caused pain yet gained him victory, caused him emptiness yet satisfied him, and gave the fish yet reclaimed it. Nature is actually more luck than a set of rules, for it can shift back and forth with the greatest of ease. The code of honor is not actually the hardest to interpret. It can only be pulled from context, which is the hardest to do. It has mainly to do with the rise, battle and fall of the prey and respect following.