The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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A Man Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated

"Man can be destroyed but not defeated."  How is this exemplified in The Old Man and the Sea?

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Santiago of The Old Man and the Sea is the quintessential Code Hero because he begins the narrative with all the elements of such a hero, although he is old and poor. He is not defeated, because he never gives up on bringing in a fish, and Santiago does not lose his pride.

Despite his failures, he sets out in his boat after having caught no fish for eighty-four days. Nevertheless, Santiago is confident that he will catch a fish that he can sell. 

[H]is hope and confidence had never gone. But now they were freshening as when the breeze rises. . . . He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility. But he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of true pride.

In his desire and courage, Santiago ventures out into the very deep water, where he hooks a marlin. Although he has nothing but his hands to hold the line, Santiago is strong, and he battles the marlin for days. Despite losing...

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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iwanttolearnsobad | Student

IT MEANS you can beat him up but in the end he will win.

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