Across the world, many think of Jesus Christ as the symbol of purity, love, and all things good. Although it is impossible for any being, fact or ? ction, to become as ‘perfect’ as Jesus Christ himself, there are characters that can be considered ‘Christ like’ or resemble certain qualities of the Messiah.
Ernest Hemingway’s character, the Old Man Santiago from The Old Man and the Sea is a Christ like character because of the way the young boy acted as his devoted disciple, the way the wounds on his hands resembled those of Christ’s, and because he carried his mast up a hill, almost identically to the way Christ carried his cross up the hill to his cruci? xion. Although Christ had many followers and Santiago only had one, Santiago is still a Christ like ? gure because of just how devoted his follower was. After the old man returned from his journey, the boy ? nds him asleep.
Hemingway writes, “The boy carried the hot can of coffee up the the old man’s shack and sat by him until he woke” (Hemingway 123). The boy could have easily gotten up and attended to other things he had to do. But Manolin genuinely cared for the old man, and stayed by his side because he wanted to. This is very similar to the loving relationship between the disciple John and Jesus. Just as John was devoted to Jesus, Manolin was devoted to Santiago. Santiago was never cruci? ed like Christ was; however, he had wounds in his hands just like Christ’s, making him stand out even more as a Christ ? gure. After Santiago had killed the ?
sh and was sailing home, he let his mind water to other things. Because his hands were injured earlier in the day, he thinks, “I bled [the hands] clean and the salt water will cure them” (Hemingway 99). Jesus had wounds in his hands when he was nailed to the cross, and yet endured that suffering. Likewise, Santiago also hand wounds in the exact same place and also persevered through the pain. This is another parallel between Jesus and Santiago. Just as Christ walked up a hill with the cross across his back, Santiago walks up a hill with his mast across his back, making him even further represent Christ.
As soon as Santiago pulls his boat up, he begins to walk home. Hemingway writes in regards to his struggle: “He shouldered the mast and started to climb… at the top he fell and lay for sometime with the mast across his shoulder” (Hemingway 121). It is commonly known through the Bible that Christ fell while carrying his cross across his shoulders to his cruci? xion site. This was the exact same way Santiago carried his mast and, like Christ, he also collapsed . Not only did both Christ and Santiago walked with a similar object across their shoulders, but they also fell on their way to their destination.
This similarity strongly proposes the idea that Santiago is a strong Christ ? gure. Because of the way Santiago walked home was exactly the way Christ walked to his cruci? xion, the wounds in Santiago’s hands were similar to Jesus’s, and he had a devoted follower like the Messiah did, Santiago is a representative of Christ. It will never be possible for anyone to become an exact replica of The Lord; however, many experiences in Santiago’s life were very similar to that of Jesus’s. Santiago could easily be considered a literature symbol of all things good, like Jesus is to the world.