Code Hero: The Old Man and the Sea

Essay by LiLmiSsLaLa87High School, 10th gradeA+, March 2004

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Sajel Lala

Mrs. Caloutas

Sophomore English

8 May þ2003þ

Code Hero

"There are many good fishermen and some great ones but there is only you" (Hemingway 23). What is a hero? Some people consider heroes to be singers, actors and actresses, or even political figures such as Mayor Rudy Giuliani and George W. Bush. A hero is not necessarily someone who is in the public eye, but instead can be an individual just fighting for what they believe in. And in Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, that is what the main character Santiago does. He mentally and physically fights battles with himself and the marlin (for his pride and love of fishing), while facing the laughter and jeers of all of those who surround him. He encompasses Ernest Hemingway's definition of a code hero, which is someone who "lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful" (Siprep 1).

Hemingway uses Santiago, the main character in The Old Man and the Sea, to symbolize his code hero.

One aspect a code hero has is following the principle of honor and pride in their work. Santiago does not boast to the other fishermen about the grandest catch of his life, even after 84 days of repetitious bad luck. Instead, at the end of the novel when he arrives back home to Cuba, he drags the marlin's carcass up to the beach and proceeds to his shack without mentioning to anyone his capture of the great creature. Santiago has such confidence in himself that he does not need to publicize his prize and share it with others; instead he remains self-satisfied, which is all he needs to be happy. With Santiago's honor, no matter what...