byMridul MondalNorth Western University, 2018
A Term Paper
Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Master of Arts Degree
Department of English Language and Literature
North Western University, Khulna
June, 2018
© Copyright by Mridul Mondal, 2018
All Rights Reserved
Mridul MondalA Term Paper Submitted in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of
Master of Arts in English Language and Literature
Program Duration: Two Year
Approved by:
Kamrun Nahar Shila,
The Head,
Department of English Language and Literature
Sabuj Kumar HalderLecturer,
Department of English Language and Literature
North Western University, Khulna
June … , 2018
Every object of nature and life has its own winning attitude. This term paper highlights how the idea of fight becomes a round character spinning into Hemingway’s Santiago, the shadow of the author, and finally earns victory over fate. Santiago is not a single name but a symbol of unbeatable inner spirit who rather openly challenges defeat. Throughout the writing, an attempt has been made to testify this fight against fate to triumph over the crushing opposition of nature. This work entirely centers round Santiago’s nonstop conflict between inner spirituality and outer material where the first being the winning-factor. This concept of fight in The Old Man and the Sea has significantly turned into genuine literature through the mastery of a positive genius like Earnest Hemingway. There are noticeable illustrations of other fighting characters like Santiago. But Hemingway’s brilliant texture and realistic exposure towards human struggle makes Santiago transcend everyone and thus firmly establish Hemingway’s vigorous thought__ destruction than defeat.

I dedicate this term paper to those who make their own fate through fighting and never know to surrender to any adversity.

I express my sincere thanks to Mr. Mridul Mondal for his strenuous efforts to accomplish this paper successfully. He has always impressed me with his positive attitude throughout this project. His dedication, commitment, and lebour are truly praiseworthy. His brilliant description, sharp arguments and simplistic writing style genuinely prove his depth of study and passion for literature. I feel fortunate having the opportunity to supervise this beautiful piece of literary work.

I warmly wish him maximum prosperity in life and recommend for awarding the degree.
June, 2018
Khulna, Bangladesh

Mr. Sabuj Kumar Halder
Department of English Language & Literature
North Western University, Khulna
I, hereby, declare that this term paper is based on my own individual merit and effort except some quotations, information and references with due acknowledgement. I also declare that it has not been previously submitted for any other degree by any student at North Western University or at any other institution.


Mridul MondalM.A in English Language and Literature
Program Duration: Two Year
Department of English Language and Literature
North Western University, Khulna
Writing a term paper is a delightful journey. Firstly, I show deep gratefulness to the Almighty God who has endowed me with the means to pursue to write this paper. Secondly, I convey my profound respect to my parents without whom my existence would be impossible. I acknowledge personal debts to all of my teachers of all stages who generously contributed to step forward in life confidently. After that I would like to express my sincere gratitude and honour to the supervisor of this venture, Lecturer Mr. Sabuj Kumar Halder, Department of English Language and Literature, North Western University, Khulna. I thankfully admit that my supervisor left no stone unturned to give me necessary instructions in writing this paper with friendliness and great care. He made complicated ideas easier and taught me the systematic approaches of writing. Moreover, I owe a lot to the other teachers along with the honourable Head of the department for their continuous encouragement.
Finally, I specially thank all my dear classmates for their friendly support and co-operation in completing this term paper.
To depict Hemingway’s adventurous struggle to win against crushing adversity.

To extract the unique talent of Hemingway in portraying characters
To show man’s indomitable spirit
To strengthen the depressed people of weak mentality
To reach the culmination of success to prepare this paper, I have adopted literary method. Firstly, I raised a storm in my head to select a topic and then I thought much on this topic and collected necessary books and online materials on the subject relevant to it. My guide teacher showed me the way to find out information on this topic. Overall, I tried to plunge into the topic to enrich myself with knowledge on the very topic by reading the text time and again. I never hesitated to ask for instructions from other teachers of the English department. Thus, going through books, consulting with the teachers and collecting online materials helped me to complete the paper. Despite doing all these things, I do not have complete satisfaction and it seems to me that it can be done in a better way. However, though I have some limitations, I have tried my best to show my capacity.

Dedication ……………………………………………………………………..

Supervisor’s note ………………………………………………………………
Declaration …………………………………………………………………………….

Acknowledgements ……………………………………………………………
Objectives of the paper ………………………………………………………..

Methodology …………………………………………………………………..

Table of contents ………………………………………………………………
Introduction …………………………………………………………………..

Discussion ……………………………………………………………………
Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………..

Works Cited …………………………………………………………………………

Ernest Hemingway is the other name of commitment, struggle and success. He uproots the obstacles that come to hang up his missions to reach the target. In early life, he wanted to work in army as war had broken out in Europe but he was rejected for some defects in his eyes. Though he was rejected for his eye defect, he again tried and this time he could manage to get involved into the First World War as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross. The Old Man and the Sea shows that man may grow old and be down on his luck but he cannot be defeated. He may even score a victory in defeat.

Hemingway was born to struggle and to show the world the unparalleled power of human being that knows no defeat. He portrays the character of Santiago as the symbol of indomitable spirit where Hemingway proves that outer material is not more powerful than inner spirituality. The Old Man and the Sea is the novella where the spirit of the old Santiago itself is a struggle and an ever-continuing fight against the unconquerable forces of nature where even in defeat; a kind of victory is possible.

From the early settlement of human civilization against nature to Hemingway’s Santiago, the protagonist, all robustly validate this classic statement, “A man can be destroyed but not defeated”(). Hemingway killed himself, literally destroying his life, yet he remains immortal in the literary world. Christ was crucified and destroyed, yet Christianity, the religion inspired by his destruction, remains one of the most popular in the world. Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich very affirmatively states, “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal”(). And finally, Santiago, the fisherman, as an old man, catches his biggest fish. Santiago’s fish was destroyed by sharks but he landed with the large skeleton of the fish just like the trophy of a victory and therefore, Santiago as a fisherman, is not defeated. Marlin also did not surrender at all. The fish kept pulling the boat for long four days. Even being extremely tired, it continued its efforts to be the winner. At last it surrender but its heroic struggle keeps it immortal and undefeated. Sharks’ fatal attempt to seize marlin from Santiago leaves a visible reference of winning against obstacles. So, the distinct fact is that every heroic being prefers to die than defeat even risking their lives before death.

The Old Man and the Sea sets two parameters of success__ outer material and inner spirituality. Santiago though falls short of material success for his age, triumphs over exhaustible material resources for his massive inner spirituality. Santiago proves that a man may grow old and be utterly flown off by his luck but his inner spirit can surpass all adversities of outer material resources. Once very strong, Santiago has now grown old but he feels that he is sturdy enough to win over any battle as he knows the trick of his trade. Hemingway’s idealism is, “To be a man is to behave with honour and dignity; not to succumb to suffering, to accept one’s duty without complaint, and most importantly, to display a maximum of self-control” (). Santiago tells himself, “suffer like a man”(). Santiago teaches to lead life heroically yet being destroyed.
Santiago mentions turtles, “Most people are heartless about turtles because a turtle’s heart will beat for hours after he has been cut up and butchered… I have such a heart too”(). This statement confirms Santiago’s inner spirituality and his invincibility. Santiago strongly asserted, “I may not be as strong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution”(). So, Santiago’s inner spirituality beats his outer material.

Those who know victory do not know defeat and never care any adversity to reach their goal. Santiago knows only to win and so mountain of obstacles becomes helpless to stop his adventure down. The first adversity of Santiago is his age against which his inner strength fights to snatch the victory. His fellow people, eighty-day fight for fish, war against Marlin and Sharks though threatened his journey to victory, Santiago never left his efforts to win over any obstacle. He warns the fish, “Fish, I’ll stay with you until I am dead”(). In his struggle there is an ascending degree of pain. But no pain could slay the heroic struggle of Santiago, the real hero. Santiago never feels defeated even coming back with the skeleton of Marlin. Triumph over crushing adversities is the main element of heroism and Santiago confirms it till the last. What a hero does is to fight his fate with dignity and grace. Santiago points up what man achieves or fails outwardly can never be more significant than spiritual complacence. As Santiago believes, “Man is not made for defeat… A man can be destroyed but not defeated”().

In scope and relevance, Herman Manville’s Moby Dick is also an excellent example of triumph over crushing adversity. Ahab, the shadow of Santiago, is on a wild quest for revenge against a monstrous white whale— popularly known as Moby Dick. He is adamant to even move heaven and hell to find it. Captain Ahad announces that he lost his leg in a battle with Moby Dick and makes every crew swear to help him get revenge. Ahab refuses to allow anything to distract him from his quest, not even other ships in need of assistance. Ahab sights Moby Dick and recklessly chases it. Captain Ahab shouts:
Speak not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. Look ye, Starbuck, all visible objects are but as paste board masks. Some inscrutable yet reasoning thing puts forth the molding of their features. The white whale tasks me; he heaps me. Yet he is but a mask. ‘Tis the thing behind the mask I chiefly hate; the malignant thing that has plagued mankind since time began; the thing that maws and mutilates our race, not killing us outright but letting us live on, with half a heart and a lung ().
Ahab further roars, “From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Ye damned whale”(). Even having lost one leg, Ahab is intrinsically as optimistic as Santiago.

Similarly, William Ernest Henley (1849–1903), an English poet, had one of his legs amputated at the age of 17. He brightly declares his resolution not to surrender in his poem “Invictus”— the unconquered. He says, “I am the master of my fate,/ I am the captain of my soul”( Henley 15-16). This poem glorifies man as the master of his destiny. He wrote it having come round from the amputation. It actually confirms his refusal to let his handicap disrupt his life. Indeed, he led an aromatic life as a poet and editor until he passed away at the age of 53.

What the theme of The Old Man and the Sea suggests is never to surrender in life to reach the goal. Santiago had nothing but an old broken boat and an old broken body. But his eyes remain as invincible as the sea. He only knows how to keep trying for success. When Santiago hooks a giant marlin on the eighty-fifth day, he battles the majestic fish for three days and never yields. After three days of unrelenting struggle, he pulls the fish close to the boat and kills it with a harpoon. On the way back home, a herd of ravenous Sharks attacked the hard-earned Marlin. Santiago still says, “I am too old to club sharks to Death. But I will try as long as I have the oars and the short club and the tiller … I’ll fight them until I die”().

Santiago’s valor against defeat clarifies that he is always ready to fight his fate. Likewise, without stooping before the old man, the Marlin also continuously strives to survive. It struggles for long three days and keeps pulling the boat of the old man and eventually on the fourth day it gets caught and killed. It finally loses its life but does not surrender. Weary and exhausted, the old man jubilantly speaks up, “Fish, you are going to die anyway. Do you want to kill me too” ()? These statements intensely support the unyielding desire of both the old man and the fish for not to surrender in life. Santiago tolerantly fights the Marlin for hours. He is sick, tired and wounded. Yet, Santiago does not give up until he takes the great Marlin or the Marlin takes him.

Santiago is an impoverished old man who has endured many ordeals. He left his best days behind. His wife passed away long ago, and they had no child. He was all alone but only a young fishing companion named Manolin. When Santiago was passing his hardest time without catching any fish, Manolin’s father forbade his son to be with the old man. And after forty days, his father declared the old man as Salao (the worst form of unluckiness), and ordered him to join another boat. Thus, the old man loses his son-like fishing partner and he becomes all alone on the wide sea. The whole world goes against him and he starts to live in the world of deprivation. But Santiago always searches greatness in a world of deprivation. What Santiago desperately wants is only an epic catch; not just to survive, but to prove his amazing skill, to rebuild his fading identity, and to regain his lost reputation in the community. Nevertheless, the old man is not frustrated even after losing his biggest catch of Marlin in exchange of so hard a battle. Thus, Santiago as a true warrior is seen considering the skeleton of the Marlin as the trophy of his victory and bringing it to the shore of the sea to show others. He finds satisfaction even in the hard deprivation. His eyes remain young, cheerful and undefeated. He knows how to keep his hope, dreams and faith alive. He has that rarest rational quality of searching greatness even in a world of deprivation.

Santiago repeatedly displays courage and fortitude in the face of pain and sufferings. For instance, Santiago’s fishing line cuts deeply into his hand when he attempts to reel the marlin close to the boat. Santiago feels the line carefully with his right hand and notices that his hand bleeding. Despite severe physical pain, Santiago maintains dignity in the midst of suffering and defeat. It is impossible to accomplish any mission without iron will. As Santiago comments, “pain does not matter to a man”().

“But, he thought, I keep them with precision. Only I have no luck anymore. But who knows? May be today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready”().The words of the old man are prophetic. In the novella, Santiago has been delineated as an unlucky fisherman. He is still as diligent as he has been for years. But Santiago’s statement is both full of optimism and humility. Santiago knows he must be precise and exact with his lines; preparation is a friend to the fisherman. Santiago does not wait for luck; he is a man of preparation; he rather likes being ready to chase luck. Santiago is well-aware of the fact that luck hardly comes and ordinary people miss it for unpreparedness. Santiago surprises all by his preparedness to break this law of luck; this sense of readiness makes him extraordinary. Santiago has full trust in his competence. So, when Marlin’s call comes, he is ready.

Santiago represents himself as a man of optimism and he never loses hope. After forty days without any fish, Manolin’s father does not allow him to be with the old man as the old man’s boat is an unlucky one. Then the old man becomes completely alone on his boat and he waits for the day of good luck. He accepts every day as a new day. He forgets the sufferings and non-attainment of the previous day and welcomes the new day as it may bring good luck for him. Santiago passes long eighty-four unlucky days and the eighty-fifth day comes as the luckiest as he hooks a great Marlin. Thus, his faith and hope see the face of light.

Every day is a new day and it is a fact that each day is a gift from God. He lets the living beings sleep and rest during the night and when the sun rises up again in the next morning, they do not know what is ahead but they do believe that God has definitely kept something valuable for that day. Every day brings new hope. People look at what is best in them and start a new life every day. Every day is a new beginning. No matter how bad was yesterday, it has passed and today is a new beginning and we have the opportunity to make good of what we have failed to achieve yesterday.

Hemingway never teaches rather leaves some ideas to his readers for realization. He leaves a call to make the best of time shaking all the despair off. He motivates not to lament, but to welcome every new day.

In fine, in the novella The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago goes too far out for a really big fish, he faces possible death. He struggles with the marlin until his hands are cut and bleeding. He fights with dignity, against great odds, and though he loses the marlin, he survives and wins a moral victory for himself by daring the sea and the great fish. The sharks symbolize all those forces which combine to take away from a man the fruits of his hard labour. But Santiago shows an indomitable spirit by virtue of which alone he is the victor in the midst of defeat. “But man is not for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated”(). “…I’ll fight them until I die”(). The great thing is not the victory but the struggle. The inner spirituality of this old man remains intensely invincible to the last though he never hesitates to admit his material defeat.

Works Cited
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Scribner, 1952. Print.>ipsaThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway-Goodreaders,>book>showAbout The Old Man and the Sea-CliffsNotes,>literatureThe Old Man and the Sea (PDF)>jmciver>HonorsA Man Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated-eNotes.Com>homework-helpMoby-Dick- Wikipedia>wiki>Moby…

Invictus by William Ernest Henley | Poetry …>poems”Every day is a new day,” Santiago says in The Old Man and the Sea.>homework-help Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich. New York: Fawcett Books, 1987. Print.

Reynolds, Michael. “Hemingway in Our Times”. The New York Times 11 July. 1999: 23-24. Accessed on 27 May 2018. <>.

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick: Or, the Whale. 1851. New York: Penguin Books, 2001. Print.

Henley, William. “Invictus.” Poetry Foundation. 18 April 2018.Web. Accessed on 1 June 2018 <>

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