Discuss Briefly How Hemingway Proves Through His Hero That Man Is Not Made For Defeat ; He Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated?

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Discuss Briefly How Hemingway Proves Through His Hero That Man Is Not Made For Defeat ; He Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated?

Post by Archer on Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:55 am


Discuss Briefly How Hemingway Proves Through His Hero That Man Is Not Made For Defeat ; He Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated?

OR

Discuss “The Old Man And The Sea” As A Glorification Of The Heroic Spirit In Man?

OR

Discuss Briefly How Hemingway Illustrates Through The Story Of A Fisherman. “What A Man Can Do And What He Can Endure”?



The Old Man and the Sea is an adventure tale, glorifying the heroic spirit in man. Hemingway wants to show how man can attain great glory and can rise to a high stature if he makes use of the valuable qualities and great capacities given to him by God. He has expressed his views by presenting a conflict between man and nature. According to him, man is precariously poised in this world. He has been made dependent upon nature for his sustenance or subsistence. But nature is hostile and niggard in its relation with mankind. Although it has been blessed with unlimited treasures and bounties yet it is never prepared to offer them to humanity generously and freely. Man is required to struggle hard and make use of his all capabilities to snatch his livelihood from the miserly hands of nature. So human life in this world is a continuous and tenacious struggle against the uncooperative and uncompromising nature.

Although man is much weaker as compared with the gigantic forces of nature, yet God has blessed him with great potentialities to conquer the hostile nature. Ingenuity and heroic spirit are the most effective weapons in the hands of man, which help him in exploring the hidden treasures of the earth and the sea, to conquer the sky-high peaks of mountains, to turn deserts into smiling green lands, to drill mountains, to get path for himself and to utilize winds, waters and sun-beams for his own well-being and comfort. Thus the world of nature is full of unlimited prospects of greatness and glory for man. At the same time it is fraught with great perils for those who dare to step out of a routine type of secure life and throw a challenge to Nature. Greatness and glory seldom descend on human beings. They have to earn it through sweat. And it can be achieved by those heroic souls who refuse to bow before the adverse circumstances and are determined to come out victorious. Hemingway wants to demonstrate through the example of his hero that man is not made for defeat; he can be destroyed but not defeated.

All these ideas have been brought home through the heroic struggle of a fisherman against a hooked fish that proves to be too stronger for him. Although he is old and weak and poor yet he is a man of invincible courage and unshakable determination. He refuses to be discouraged by his repeated failures to catch any fish for eighty four clays continuously. He also refuses to bow before the general opinion about himself that he is an unlucky fisherman. He persists in his belief that his big fish must be found somewhere and some day. On the 85th day he takes his small boat and goes far into the open sea where no other fisherman has ever ventured. I-le succeeds in hooking a big marlin at a depth of a hundred fathoms. But the baited fish refuses to come to the surface and starts swimming in the sea, towing the fisherman and his boat after itself. Santiago finds himself put into a dangerous situation as the powerful fish may drag him far into the perilous sea and may upset his boat to perish him. If he liked, he could cut the line and let the dangerous fish escape. But he is a brave man who is prepared to risk his life instead of accepting defeat to save himself. He firmly believes that man is not made for defeat. A man may be destroyed but he cannot be defeated. Therefore he holds the line tightly and gives full liberty to the marlin to take him anywhere she likes. I-Ie addresses the marlin and says: “Fish l’ll stay with you until I am dead.” The Old Man is determined to defeat his big adversary with ingenuity and skill. His whole body remains tightly strained for two days and nights without getting any rest, sleep or nourishment. His hands are badly bruised and his arms are painfully cramped.

But he refuses to give in. He endures his suffering without complaint and says that “Pain does not matter to a man”. It is the human pride and the desire for victory which sustains him. He is determined to show to the huge sea creature, “What a man can do and what a man endures.” He is conscious of the fact that the marlin is fatiguing him to death and in his attempt to kill the fish he may get killed himself. But he declares, “I do not bother who kills who”. At last the fish feels totally exhausted and gives up` resistancej The Old Man pulls her up gradually and kills her with a harpoon as soon as it gets within his easy reach. It is a marvelous victory of a valiant, determined and experienced man against the hostile nature.

It must be pointed out that the struggle of the Old Man against the giant fish is essentially the struggle of a bread-earner against the uncompromising nature. But it is kept up by the invincible heroic spirit. The Old Man undergoes untold miseries because he considers it beneath human dignity to be defeated by a mere fish. lt is the human pride, not the consideration of material gain which supports the Old Man in continuing the epic fight.

Whenever he finds his strength failing he tries to revive his heroic will by recollecting his singular victory against the negro in the hand-game. When his left hand gets cramped and he feels afraid of losing his contest with the baited fish, he tries to strengthen his heroic spirit by reminding himself of his baseball champion Di Maggio who fought and won in spite of a bone spur in his heel.

Santiago’s dream of the lions playing on the African beach is also a bid to boost up his failing physical strength. His wish to have the boy Manolin with him at that hour of the need is actually his wish for his youth that has deserted him. So we can say that the story of “The Old Man and the Sea” is essentially the story of man’s heroic and adventurous spirit that never feels contented at any stage, and always aspires to make historic achievements without caring for the dangers and difficulties involved in this struggle. Santiago’s brave fight against the sharks also bears testimony to his undefeatable will-power and his determination to do his best under the circumstances. It is true that he returns home empty handed but he leaves behind a shining example of human dignity and brave fight that lends beauty and honor to his loss.

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