Michael LiuProfessor BurnhamWorld Literature Honors23 January 2018Comparison of Christ and Santiago from The Old Man and the Sea Santiago, from the short novel The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, is a character that has similarities to Jesus Christ from the Bible. Ernest Hemingway is an American author coming from the notable Lost Generation. The Lost Generation was a generation coined by the American novelist Gertrude Stein, who described this generation as the survivors of the chaos and horrors of the First World War. Authors from the Lost Generation often wrote about personal experiences from the First World War and the collapse of the American Dream as a result from disillusionment and disorientation from the war. Although there is a sense of despair in this novel like other novels written in this time period, Hemingway ironically provides hope for the characters through the holy figure Jesus Christ. There are many representations of Christianity in The Old Man and the Sea, notably in the characters of the book.
One example of this is found in the character Manolin, a young optimistic boy who loves and respects Santiago. Manolin is a good representation of Christ’s followers / apostles, as he “would like to serve in some way” (12) to aid Santiago in fishing and “will fish together now for I still have much to learn” (125). Although Santiago was known as a “salao”, or worst form of unlucky, Manolin still had faith in Santiago’s fishing skills. Another example of physical representations is the journey that Santiago goes through that is similar to Christ. Santiago, as the novel progresses, suffers pain in many forms. He suffers through starvation, exhaustion, and physical pain. Likewise, Jesus Christ had to go through much suffering as a result of spreading the Christian religion around.
Both Santiago and Christ are not afraid of death, as Santiago believes “man is not made for defeat … A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” (103) They both believed that although their physical bodies may die, they will never truly die and will continue fighting on after death. Finally, Santiago “fell and lay for some time with the mast across his shoulder” (121), symbolizing the Crucifixion of Christ, also shown when he “slept face down on the newspapers with his arms out straight and the palms of his hands up.” (122). These points shows that Santiago has similarities to Jesus Christ.