Sunday, June 6, 2010

Santiago as a Code Hero

Santiago is a typical code hero of Hemingway. These codes are specified nowhere, but the likes and dislikes of the readers pick out quite easily. Santiago fits in this frame like the heroes of ‘The undefeated’, and ‘Fifty Grand’. They face the pressure, violence and corruption with courage, discipline and endurance.
The awkwardness of this violent world is a challenge to these and they face every blow of misfortune with grace. All of them are men of action and can perform their jobs quite efficiently.  Santiago is a fisherman by trade living in a village of simple fishermen. In the very opening lines of the novel the character of Santiago is revealed as a simple man who fishes for a living. But for three months he has to go without a fish. Therefore he is thought to be ‘Salao’ by the other fishermen. Out first impression of Santiago is that of a failure. But as we go through the novel we come across a man who is resolute, courageous, strong and undefeated.
The boy manolin still believes in the perfection of
Santiago’s art. The night before his great ordeal at sea, he brings supper for him and they talk about baseball players and various wins and defeats of the day. They particularly talk about Di Maggio, a baseball players from New York. Santiago wishes to catch big fish that day, and he goes far off the shore. He is seen off by manolin who provides various necessary articles and baits.
At last, the ordeal begins. Some big monster swallows the bait and the skiff begins to be pulled farther into the Sea. It is a story of marvelous struggle between the grand marlin and the skilled old fisherman Santiago. The old man fights to catch the fish for three nights and two days. He fights bravely against this grand fish without proper food and equipments. He faces all the hardships and twice he feels as if the were swooning away, because of hard labor and hunger. But some how, he manages to keep himself alert. Santiago is happy as he tries the fish along the plank of the skiff and begins with the shore. He thinks about his youthful period; his match with a Negro that continued for a day and night and at last he lowered the arm of his opponent.
Misfortune comes in the form of sharks. In the beginning, he keeps them away with the help of harpoon, then with his knife and afterwards with clubs, but the sharks tear every piece of flesh away and only the skeleton is left. The old man curses and abuses the sharks but everything is over now.
With heavy steps Santiago goes to his but and falls down. He has totally been exhausted and destroyed, but still graceful and victorious. The fishermen gathered round that marvelous creature and talk about his achievement. Manolin sees his injured hands and back. He weeps over this sad incident, he runs to the canteen for some coffee etc. he asks Santiago to be all right – so that he may learn so many things from him about the art of fishing.
Santiago is a perfect ‘code hero’ – through whom Hemingway portrays the picture of ageing hero and the hardships he has to face.
Santiago faces all ordeals with courage and grace. 

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