Inner Happiness in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea

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Inner Happiness in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea

Hemingway's view of human nature was that happiness was rare and was found within a man and not in his outside circumstances or surroundings. Hemingway illustrates this in three ways. First, he portrays the human nature of Santiago, the main character, as being one of humility and compassion, full of strength and pride. He is shown not as a gleefully happy man, but one who meets life with a serene, quiet resilience. Second, Santiago's fellow villagers are shown as shallow and materialistic, with a narrow view of life compared to his. Their focus on appearances is in sharp contrast to Santiago's focus on intrinsic values. Third, it will be shown that his rare
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The mast Santiago carries resembles a cross and his apparent suffering is likened to Jesus'. However, the deep attunement with nature and what are, in effect, Taoist principles of balance of opposites illustrated by Santiago's character are quite different from the obvious Christian metaphors used by Hemingway (Waggonner 5). The acute awareness that Santiago brings to his everyday life is much more in tune with Buddhist rather than Christian ideology (Waggonner 5). He says, "I'll say a hundred Our Fathers and a hundred Hail Marys. But I cannot say them now" (Hemingway 87). These are definitely not the thoughts of a devout Christian. His "religious" thoughts and prayers are a mere augmentation of his subconscious resolve and determination to choose a positive outlook at every turn. Clearly, his inner dialogue illustrates these qualities.

In defining happiness, I agree with Schopenhauer that the process is an inexhaustible one and that in pursuing this end I, like him, would also be repeating ad nauseum the words of those from past centuries (Wisdom 9). Some supporting words and concepts regarding Santiago's happiness, however, will be briefly touched on here. Santiago possesses the "noble nature" and "bright spirits" which are the "first and most important elements of happiness," according to Schopenhauer's The Wisdom of Life (21). Epictetus, through Rufus, speaks of happiness as having to do with a God-given ability to use external
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