Monday, August 16, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea: Unappearing Characters

There are three main characters in The Old Man and the Sea who are never even physically present in the story. These characters are Joe DiMaggio, the famous New York Yankees' center fielder, Perico, a friendly store owner in the village, and Martin, another nice man who works in the village. Although they never speak or show themselves, all three play important parts in the plot in each of their own unique ways. Joe DiMaggio, for example, is hundreds of miles away in New York, but he is still not only Santiago's favorite baseball player, but also a major role model. When Santiago feels weak or down, he thinks of the "great Joe DiMaggio" and of what he might do in the same situation. DiMaggio comes up multiple times in The Old Man and the Sea as an inspiration for Santiago. One notable occurance is when Santiago's left hand, being under too much stress, cramps and becomes useless. He thinks of the "great Joe DiMaggio" and how he played through a bone spur, and he set his mind to getting over the cramp and forcing it to release. DiMaggio is worshiped as a character of amazing strength and commitment. Perico is the owner of a shop in town. He is only mentioned a few times in the book, but he seems to be a friendly character. His role in The Old Man and the Sea is to provide the daily newspaper to Santiago, so he can read through it and mainly check the baseball box scores. It is not stated, but as I understand, Perico gives this service for no charge. This says a lot about the values of him as a human; he must be a very generous and caring man. Martin serves about the same purpose as Perico, but he gives Santiago food instead of the paper from the cafe he runs in the village. Manolin goes and fetches the food most days from the restaurant and brings it back to the man for him.

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