In Ernest Hemingway's novel, The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago initially undergoes traumatic pain. Having gone eighty-four days without catching a fish, Santiago becomes the fool of his small village. However, Santiago withstands the pressure in every conflict, regardless of how perilous he is. He resolves to sail out beyond the other fishermen to where the biggest fish might be: ". he looked behind him and saw that no land was visible" (46). It is evident that to become a hero in his village, he must capture a magnificent fish. To find and keep this fish, Santiago must develop great fortitude and determination. In The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago's character transforms from a humble fisherman to a model of heroic manhood.
Santiago's transformation begins in his struggle with the catch of his life. This struggle soon becomes a war of attrition. Santiago has developed humility and become modest since he lives in poverty. "The sail was patched with flour sacks. it looked like the flag of permanent defeat" (9). In the old days, Santiago used to be one of the most respected people in his village. However, when Santiago was given bad luck, the people lost respect for him. Because of Santiago's pride, he ventures out into deep water trying to catch a glorious fish. He endures a three day long grueling and painful battle with the gigantic fish. While he keeps his hands and back on the line, both the marlin's and Santiago's strength start to wane. On the third day, Santiago finally manages to kill the marlin using much of his strength, while enduring tremendous amounts of pain. Santiago exhibits great strength, courage, and moral certainty with his battle. Santiago stands as evidence that pride motivates men to achieve importance through his own transformation. The skillful capture of the marlin becomes Santiago's transcendence from a humble man to a hero.
Santiago's manhood is reflected in the nobility and grandeur of the marlin.