Unexpected Quests in Literature A quest, small or large, is described in most works of literature. Quests often require a great expedition on the part of the protagonist, and the overcoming of many obstacles, hardships and sufferings. A majority of the time the character is not aware of the journey that they are embarking on. According to Thomas C Foster, in his article How to Read Literature Like a Professor, a quest must contain five key components; a quester, a place to go along with a stated reason to go there, obstacles along the way and a real reason to go there. Stories such as; Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and Cormac McCarthy's The Road are great examples of quests in modern literature. The characters in each novel embark on their own quests, and along the way …show more content…
The novel written by Ernest Hemingway tells the story of an old fisherman named Santiago (referred to as "the old man") and his quest of catching a fish. Unfortunately, the old man has been down on his luck and has been fish-less for eighty-four days. The next time the old man leaves for a fishing trip, he sets sail farther than any fisherman has ever gone before, and he refuses to go home until he has proven to himself and to society that he is more than an average old man. However the old man is forced to overcome many challenges on his quest. His old age hinders him drastically and when he is finally able to get a fish on his line, he is not strong enough and is unable to reel the fish in. On the third day of the fishing expedition as the old man continues to struggle with the fish (a large marlin), he begins to reflect on the nature of the universe and his low place in society. The old man begins to feel pity for the fish, however also feels an unflagging determination to kill
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While other fishermen reel in boatloads of fish, the old man is lucky to feel so much as a tug on his line. He spends some time fishing with a young boy, but after months of bad luck, the boy’s parents no longer allow him to fish with the old man. It is for this reason that he decides to journey far out into the sea, aiming to catch a fish so huge it renders the other fishermen speechless. After venturing miles away from the course, the old man finally feels the pull of a large fish on his line; so large, in fact, that he does not have the strength to reel it in. However, he is determined to capture it no matter how long it takes, telling himself, “You better be fearless and confident yourself, old man” (Hemingway 84). He does his best to remain strong and optimistic throughout his time at sea. With much patience, he allows the marlin to guide his boat through the rippling waves of the ocean for days on end. When it finally tires out, he is able to kill it and reel it in, leaving an accumulation of blood in its place. Knowing this could mean trouble, he begins to head back to shore as quickly as possible, blood trailing behind him. To his dismay, despite his efforts to avoid them, the sharks sense the blood in the water and approach his boat. Each time a shark appears, he is eventually able to fight it off, but not before it can take a portion
“He did not truly feel good because the pain from the cord across his back had almost passed pain and into dullness that he mistrusted.”(74) Once both the fish and Santiago had reached the breaking point of conflict the story seemed to slow down in time to exemplify the adverse conditions that both characters were suffering from. The old man proves himself worthy of personal suffering with the cuts and scars on his hands and back along with all of the pulling and slipping the cords had upon his fragile body. Hemmingway shows in a big way how an out of proportioned conflict with an old fisherman and an 18 foot long marlin helps to magnify the significance of Santiago searching for his rebirth to manhood. With constant abstraction describing the fish and the sea in relation to brotherhood create interesting questions for Santiago to ponder. His rationalization for his fishing is that he was born to do it. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” (103) Hemmingway proves that this fish represents all of Santiago’s built up tension to total the size of a gigantic marlin that is perceived as devastating but not unconquerable. The old man’s hopes and aspirations can overcome the adversity of the marlin’s size, along with the conditions of the old, hungry, and exhausted fisherman. Through outright suffering Santiago achieves a goal above his previous manhood by combating pain and
Even though he is an adolescent boy, Manolin loves spending time with Santiago. He loves to go out fishing with him but, his parents no longer will let him. The reason for this is because Santiago has not caught a fish for eighty-four days. As a result of this unfortunate occurrence, others deem Santiago the term salao, or the worst kind of unlucky. Knowing the struggle Santiago is facing, Manolin tries to help him in as many ways as possible. Manolin brings Santiago drinks, food and the newspaper so they can talk about baseball and the great Joe DiMaggio. In spending all this time with the old man, Manolin develops a form of respect for him. He comes to understand that despite the recent unlucky situations, Santiago remains hopeful as well as prideful. This is why Manolin looks up to the old man so much. “Santiago… I could go with you again. We have made some money. The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him” (Hemingway 10). Along with just loving Santiago for himself, Manolin also looks up to him because Santiago taught him how to fish. Manolin understands that he is a large part of Santiago’s life and feels honored and
In How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas Foster presents a guide to help readers further understand the novels they read. In chapter one, he claims that every trip is a quest, and every quest has five main components. Each journey consists of a “quester”, or a journeying character that lacks self-knowledge. This character has a desired destination and a stated purpose of going there. Throughout this journey, the character experiences challenges and obstacles, eventually learning something new about him or her self. Thus, we learn that a simple trip has a deeper meaning and purpose.
1-3. The main idea of Chapter 1 Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It’s Not) (pp.1-6) can be concluded in the following sentence: every story is a quest that consists of a person that has a reason to go to a certain place with challenges on one’s way which then leads the particular person (usually the main hero of a story) to the actual, or real, reason associated with self-knowledge, because the quest is always educational.
Quest is a method where a literary work is broken down into five simple components. The five aspect of Quest consists of a quester, a place to go, a stated reason to go, challenges and trials, and a real place to go. This method can be applied to a novel by John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath because many examples are peppered throughout the story.
The first chapter of Thomas C. Foster’s guide to finding symbolism and motifs in literature, How To Read Literature Like a Professor, details the literary plot device of a quest and how to identify one in a novel. He introduces the chapter by explaining how a seemingly normal trip to the grocery store is a quest because it is structurally a quest. The hero, a boy named Kip, like every other hero in a quest, confronts various trials (his jealousy of another boy and his rejection by the girl he likes) in search of a “Holy Grail” (a loaf of bread). According to Foster, there are five components of a quest, all of which can be found in Kip’s story. The first structural component is the quester, or the character who is undertaking the quest, consciously or not. This character is known as the hero or heroine of the story, which in this case is Kip. The second and third elements are the “declared” purpose of the quest: a location that the hero must travel to and a reason to go there, which would be Kip’s search for a loaf of bread at the grocery store. Sometimes,
The aspects of quest are present in most literary work found today. An excellent example
Jose de Alvare AP LIT Dr. Busse 08/14/17 How to Read Literature Like a Professor: by Thomas C. Foster Chapter 1-- Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It's Not) The five parts of a QUEST are The five aspects of the quest are: (a) a quester, (b) a place to go, (c) a stated reason to go there, (d) challenges and trials en route, (e) a real reason to go there. a quester - Percy Jackson a place to go - the underworld and mount olympus The stated reason to go there - to retrieve the stolen lightning bolt from Hades in the underworld for Zeus and to save his mother Challenges and trials en route - On his way to the underworld he has to face Medusa in New York , the Hydra and the Lotus Eaters in a Las Vegas casino. He also has to face Luke attempting to steal the lightning bolt and attempting to kill him.
The concept of the Quest can be easily applied to John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
In the novella, The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago is an unlucky fisherman who has not caught anything in 84 days. Yet he sets out alone on the 85th day to try again. For three days he struggles with a large marlin which he finally kills; but, despite his best efforts, he loses the fish to repeated shark attacks.
Santiago of The Old Man and the Sea is the quintessential “Hemingway Hero”-a type of fictional character created by Hemingway in all of his books whose basic response to life appealed very strongly to the readers. The Old Man begins the narrative with all the elements of such a hero despite his senescence and poverty. He shows strength, determination, and dedication to himself despite his struggles. Santiago relates back to readers as a strong failure who picks himself up repeatedly.
It is ambiguous whether the old man succeeds or fails. At first, it seems that if Santiago has failed. “He sailed lightly now and he had no thoughts nor any feelings of any kind” (Hemingway 119). It is almost like he has lost everything that he has worked for. The old man accepts defeat as is, without mourning or grief Fortunately, after all the damage has been taken, he keeps fishing. He built some sort of relationship with the marlin, but was later broken. He has since moved on.
The nobility of character of the old man prevents him from feel hate and rancor toward the other fishermen. Despite the taunts of the other fishermen, Santiago is quiet and admits having a bad streak of luck. This makes him an honorable man, which avoids any conflict and is able to recognize his flaws as a fisherman. Although the sea has given him several bitter drinks, he is able to keeping on loving it. “A man is honest when he acts honestly, he is humble when he acts humbly, he loves when he is loving or being loved.” (Waldmeir 165). Perhaps, the crowning act of humility in Santiago is when he is forced to recognize that by his own forces he will not be enough to grab the fish, and decides to carry out prayers to the Almighty. At the end of the hunting of the big animal, Santiago does not become conceited. His simple and humble soul thanks with a prayer for the outcome of his effort. Although the fighting has been severe and bloody, the old man was not self-styled "hero”. Santiago humbly considers himself as one fisherman more, and the categorization as a hero depends on the readers. “It is the knowledge that a simple man is capable of such decency, dignity, and even heroism, and that his struggle can be seen in heroic terms, that largely distinguishes this book.” (Young 131). The evident relation between his humility and dignity helps to place Santiago as a perfect
Over and over again he is remarked to be a strange old man, and he himself is the one to glorify that. He seems to struggle with the fact that he must prove himself to the other fisherman who mock him and believe him to be a fallen hero. He sets off to sea in his boat one day, but what he does not know that it will be the three most tiring days of his life. He first catches a smaller fish and instead of turning back, he decides to go farther out into the ocean to see what he can catch with that fish. He soon is dragged all over and back by a shiny purple marlin, that is two feet longer than his skiff. The response to Santiago’s poor decision or lack of creativity to harpoon the marlin instead of try to kill it another was as to not attract mako sharks was confusing. He is shown to be a man of intelligence and greatness, yet his decision to kill the marlin in this manner knowing what could happen proves that he had a distinct motive for harpooning the fish. By the words of Gery Brenner, “that motive is self validation-the need to prove himself”(Brenner 55). In the end, after the three day struggle, when Santiago returns to the dock, he is told by Manolin later that he was said to be lost at sea, and everyone was completely taken away by the length of the mangled carcass that he brought in. The take many get from Hemingway’s novel is