Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The Old Man and the Sea: Thoughts - Part II
Santiago is also just a very suiting type of character for the role here. He is deeply passionate for what he is doing, and he shows it even after an eighty-four-day losing streak without being able to catch any fish. The book also mentions a previous streak of eighty-seven days without a catch which is Santiago's stillstanding record for longest period without any luck of fishing. He is extremely headstrong, and he pushes himself through every difficulty he faces. An ordinary man in the same situation would most likely have cut the fish loose after so much pain it has caused. The marlin cut his hands and his back, but Santiago never loosens his grip on the beast. He knows that he is the better opponent, and when he needs it, he thinks of the "great Joe DiMaggio," who he knows is a strong competitor, fighting through a bone spur to become one of the greatest and most well known baseball players of all time, as a model for how he should behave in times of trouble. Santiago is also very wise. He knows just where he needs to be to find the big fish, and he knows how to attract them, even though he did have a small period of trouble. He knows he can wrangle a deep sea fish with just a fishing line and his bare hands. He is also able to control multiple lines at once, each ranging from almost on the surface of the water to down below where he might be able to catch a passing crab as it moves over the line sitting at the bottom of the ocean. And, with so many lines in the water simultaneously, he is still able to control the depths and how the bobbers are positioned on top of the water. It amazes me that, even though he has had so many years of practice, anyone can possess these skills, let alone an old, frail man.