Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.
Definition and Background
'You may say I'm a dreamer - But I'm not the only one - I hope someday you'll join us - And the world will be as one…,' sings John Lennon. Hope is an optimistic view of future outcomes. Lennon offers hope that at some point there will be world peace. Hope is a theme, or main subject, of Ernest Hemingway's short story, The Old Man and the Sea. Even after a long streak of bad luck, the fisherman, Santiago, never loses hope. Let's look at some examples from this story.
Instilling Hope in Others
After 84 straight days of not catching any fish, everyone has lost faith in Santiago except for Manolin, the boy who used to fish with him, but Santiago never loses hope. Manolin offers to buy him four sardines to use as bait the next day. While Santiago's pride prevents him from accepting more than half of them, the sentiment revives him. The narrator writes, 'His hope and his confidence had never gone. But now they were freshening as when the breeze rises.' Having at least one other person that also believes in him revives Santiago's hope.
Manolin learned to fish from Santiago and thinks he is the best fisherman. His admiration flatters Santiago, who says, 'I hope no fish will come along so great that he will prove us wrong.' Santiago believes he has great skill, but is aware that he is aging and that could affect his ability to bring in a great fish.
Hope to Bring in a Great Fish
Santiago does end up hooking a marlin that weighs more than a thousand pounds that proves to be challenging to him. After spending an entire night trying to reel it in, Santiago vows he will kill it before the end of the day. 'Let us hope so,' he thought. Santiago's wish comes true and he is able to kill the marlin, but then the sharks attack.
After fighting them off for most of the night, 'he was full of resolution but he had little hope.' He is able to kill many sharks, but not before they demolish his marlin. He attacks the sharks 'without hope but with resolution and complete malignancy.' After fending off the first round of sharks, Santiago has half of the marlin left. When looking at only the front half of the fish, 'some of his hope returned. It is silly not to hope, he thought.' He even thinks it a sin not to maintain hope.
Hope to Make It Home Safely
However, the things he hopes for change over time. With the fish gone, he just hopes he makes it back to land safely. Then he begins to wonder, 'I hope no one has been too worried.' Just before the final pack of sharks takes the remainder of the fish, the tired and injured fisherman hopes, 'I hope I do not have to fight again, he thought. I hope so much I do not have to fight again.'
The theme of hope is present throughout the story of Santiago, the elderly fisherman, who never gives up hope after a long streak of not catching any fish. Although the others in his community have lost faith in him, Manolin still believes in him, which renews Santiago's hope. At first, he hopes to catch a great fish and kill it, but after several shark attacks, he changes from hoping to bring the fish to shore to just making it to shore safely.
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