Sunday, June 6, 2010

Santiago's Heroism and Encounter with the Marlin

Santiago is a master fisherman. His struggle against the odds, his perseverance, single handedness and untiring effort of the fish has been presented like a heroic battle that was fought on the Cuban seas. The old man’s combat with the marlin is an ordeal that brings out man’s faith in endless struggle for his ideals. Santiago has been at sea nearly three full days, almost all that time without sleep and hanging on to a 1500-pound fish that steadily tows him and his boat for miles against the current.

Santiago has to use nearly all his skill to defecate his opponent. He has to put a sack over his back under the line to make him comfortable. Time and again he thinks of manolin. His thoughts make him sad but he is with the idea that he was born to be fisherman and he must prove his salt. Santiago cuts away his other baits to use their line if the fish swims deeper and makes all possible efforts to a success in this struggle of nerves and mettle. He vows to stay with the fish until it is dead. He goes on with injured hands and s stiff and painful back. The fish at last jumps. It then reveals its beauty and size. Santiago appreciates it. It is the largest fish he has ever seen or heard of the fish continues its swim on. Santiago even prays for the death of the fish. Although he is not religious minded yet the prayers make him feel better. Then he thinks of the baseball, his favorite game. He also remembers his match of hand wrestling with a Negro, which earned him a title “the champion”. He catches small fish all and on for his food. When the fish slows down he feels confident knowing that he has eaten while the fish has not. When the fish comes to the surface, it begins to circle, now Santiago has to work hard to control it.
On the third day he manages to bring the fish close to the boat and harpoons it. It gives a last leap out of the water, showing its size, power and beauty. Them it falls dead. Although Santiago is weak and tired but he is proud what he has achieved. The old man begins his return journey, half conscious of the fact that his struggle is not yet over. His long and heroic war against the marlin engenders the second epic war that he has to fight against the sharks.  Santiago’s struggle against marlin and ultimate victory restore his superiority in the field of fishing. The incident takes away the slur from his good name and proves his worth as a fisherman to restore his position in his community.

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