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Analysis of The Old Man and the Sea

            The Old Man and the Sea Literary Essay.
             In numerous literary works throughout history, heroes appear in a multitude of manifestations. They materialize as mythical heroic figures such as Hercules, a demigod endowed with strength beyond that of all mortals; they come forth as classical conquering commanders in the manner of Alexander the Great, defeating nations and building empires; they emerge as youthful superheroes such as Superman, saving entire worlds with extraordinary superpowers; and they are seen as ordinary people, with no divine assistance or physical prowess, overcoming seemingly everyday obstacles to bring positive change to their world. In Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, the novel's aged protagonist, Santiago, a humble old man living a simple and uncomplicated life, may appear to be an unlikely hero when contrasted to other literary and historical heroic figures. However, while Santiago lacks some of the advantages and characteristics of more celebrated heroes, he is able to take his place among the pantheon of heroes that have preceded or succeeded him because he possesses qualities, and portrays behaviours, that are common to all conventional heroic figures. Moreover, like all heroes, he is able to draw on those to triumph over continued trials, and while he may falter many times during the challenges of his "hero's journey," he is able to recover to complete his ordeal – showing the hero's determination to avoid defeat even when apparently destroyed.
             Foremost among the characteristics of many conventional heroes is a deep sense of pride. It is not a pride that boasts of accomplishments or victories, or that pompously parades skills or physical strengths; it is instead a quiet dignity – a sense of self-respect – and an honorable humility. Santiago is such a dignified and humble man. Reflections of this positive pride that defines many heroes are seen in Santiago's seemingly simple interactions with Manolin.

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