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It is when we strive forward towards a goal that we open ourselves up to opportunity. Santiago does not whine about hunger pains or thirst, nor does he mope about the fishing line that cuts into his hands.Out at sea, far beyond the other boats, Santiago is presented with the greatest challenge of his life.While challenges and setbacks can strip a man of all outward signs of success, still his spirit can remain undefeated.
This makes him a outsider among his peers, and it costs him his trusty partner, the boy Manolin, whose parents forbid him from fishing with the old man.
While Santiago deals with the suffering of being hungry and poor, other boats from his village continue pulling in good fish every day.
Old age is a common excuse, and for certain things it is legitimate, but all too often it is used either where it has no place or before any effort has been made to prove the assumption wrong.
When the sharks begin attacking Santiago’s marlin, at first he fears that he cannot defend himself because of his age, but before long, he gathers his tools to be used as weapons and does what he must. But I will try as long as I have the oars and the short club and the tiller.” And many more sharks do come.
In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway describes an old fisherman and the unfortunate trials he faces as his “luck” runs out.
Through the novel, the fisherman, Santiago, replicates Hemingway’s ideal man, a noble hero.He had a specific way of living life and an understanding of time.He believed in taking risks and acting upon instinct.He keeps his fishing lines straighter than anyone, and he makes sure that, “at each level…there [will] be a bait waiting exactly where he wishes it to be for any fish that swim there.” Santiago keeps his lines with precision, and he is ready for whatever comes.We cannot attain success simply by waiting for good things to happen. Then when the luck comes you are ready.” Whether it’s something as trivial as being cold or as significant as skirting along the borders of death, a man simply does what must be done, without self-pity and without complaint.But the hand refuses him and he is forced to work with his right hand alone, against the powerful fish that is two feet longer than his own skiff.Drained, Santiago “settles against the wood” and simplytakes his suffering as it comes.Or as Hemingway puts it: “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Luck plays a major role in the story and in our everyday lives, and to a superstitious lot like fishermen, poor luck can seem paralyzing.In Santiago’s little Cuban fishing village he is labeled “salao, which is the worst form of unlucky,” after having gone eighty-four days without taking a single fish.Manolin asks, “Who is the greatest manager, really, Luque or Mike Gonzalez?” “I think they are equal.” “And the best fisherman is you.” “No.