What is a hero? A hero follows a code that enables a man to live correctly. A man may live a life that is chaotic, often stressful, and always painful. To be a hero, a man must live his life with complete honor, courage, and endurance. Through Ernest Hemingway's novel, The Old Man and The Sea, Santiago, the old- beaten down fisherman, earns the status of a hero for living a life in which there is much chaos, and uses his advantages to overcome them. Similarly, in "A Piece of Steak" by Jack London, Tom King, an old time boxer, is a hero because he overcomes obstacles in his life. Together, through the means of endurance, wisdom, and optimism, both Tom King and Santiago prove their hero status.
Endurance is the ability to withstand hardship or adversity. Endurance is one of the major keys that put Santiago on the path to become a hero. Santiago does not allow himself to be defeated for even though he doubts himself sometimes; he picks his head up and holds it up strong. "The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars but these scars were not fresh, they were as old as erosions in a fishless desert" (Hemingway 10). This quote proves the fact that even though Santiago was put through physical pain; he endured and stayed in the game. He continues to fight his heart out no matter how old, tired, and beaten up he is. Likely, Tom King does not give up so easily, yet he was one who takes whatever is coming at him to overcome his obstacle. "Yet King persisted in his dogged slowness, despite the crying of young hotheads for him to go in and fight" (London 5). Tom King endures the pain, and does not give into the crowd, but rather continues to fight in the manner in which he wishes to. Santiago as well uses a mental approach to endure, in which he makes man feel invincible. " And pain does not matter to a man" (Hemingway 84). This quote depicts Santiago's approach to pain because he is stating that there is no such thing as pain to him.