Whether it is good or bad, something has to trigger it. In The Old Man in the Sea, a character, named Santiago, fell into a conflict of inadequate proportions. He went out into the sea, searching to find something that might take his life complete, to maybe find some serenity. Not only did he find it, but there was a catch. Was Santiago strong enough to keep it? Was he strong enough to take on the beasts in the water? Santiago caught a fish, not only the fish that he would have waited eighty-five days for, but a fish in such gigantic means that he could have waited a lifetime.
All Santiago needed was a little hope and encouragement to help him on his quest. Santiago found comfort in the animals surrounding, such as the fish, the birds, and the turtles. ‘He was very fond of flying fish as they were his principal friends in the ocean’; (29. ) It was that the ocean was just like him, lonely and isolated. It was a comforting thought that these animals were always there with him, as if they were guiding him throughout his quest. These fish were companions to Santiago, they made him feel as if there was always someone there, always watching.
He watched the flying fish burst out again and again and the ineffectual movements of the bird. ‘That school has gotten away from me, he thought. They are moving too fast and too far. But perhaps I will pick up a stray and perhaps my big fish is around them. My big fish must be somewhere’; (34-5). Santiago related to the fish as family, like brothers and a hope to gain respect by the constant battles he has with them. ‘ No flying fish broke the surface and there was no scattering of bait fish.
But as the old man watched, a small tuna rose in the air, turned and dropped head first into the water. The tuna shone silver in the sun and after he had dropped back into the water another and another rose and they were jumping in all directions, churning the water and leaping in long jumps after the bait. They were circling it and driving it’; (38) Not only were the fish family, it was also a long, drawn out food for Santiago. The fish weren’t the only ones who helped Santiago. There were the birds. ‘The bird went higher in the air and circled again, his wings motionless.
Then he dove suddenly and the old man saw flying fish spurt out of the water and sail desperately over the surface’; (34) ‘He went back to rowing and to watching the long-winged black bird who was working, now, low over the water’; (34). To Santiago, the fish are hard at work, as he inspires to be like. ‘ He was sorry for the birds, especially the small delicate dark terns that were always flying and looking and almost never finding, and he thought, the birds have a harder life than we do, except for the robber birds and the heavy strong ones.
Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel? ‘; (29). As for the birds, Santiago had something to relate with. Life can be so hard when it is meager and austere, yet so easy for those who are strong, and have everything. Why should God be so misunderstanding to put such a person of lesser means in this cruel world? To be of last assistance to Santiago, would be the turtles.
He loved green turtles and hawk-bills with their elegance and speed and their great value and he had a friendly contempt for the huge, stupid loggerheads, yellow in their armour-plating, strange in their lovemaking, and happily eating Portuguese men-of-war with their eyes shut’; (36-7) ‘He was sorry for them all, even the great trunk backs that were as long as the skiff and weighed a ton. Most people are heartless about turtles because a turtles heart will beat for hours after he has been cut up and butchered’; (37). Santiago had benign heart, and cared for all creatures, because he was so much like them.
During the night two porpoises came around the boat and he could hear them rolling and blowing. He could tell the difference between the blowing noise the male made and the sighing blow of the female. ‘ They are good,’ he said. ‘They play and make jokes and love one another. They are our brothers like the flying fish. ”; (48). It is that Santiago cares for these creatures so much because he has a heart like theirs and hands too. He is strong like them, and idolizes them all he can. They are friendship, admiration and courage are something that Santiago realized.
They kept pushing to go a little further. But not all things turn out as planned. Although Santiago had a lot of encouragement before his journey into the great unknown, he needed something a lot bigger. Santiago’s life was one great conflict. What helped Santiago with his conflicts, were the fish, the birds and the turtles. What Santiago’s heritage left behind, was a legacy of a man who had all the time in the world, who caught his biggest dream, and because of life’s little conflicts, no matter of the help he had, lost it.