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Comparing the Old Man and the Sea and the Bluest Eye

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Perseverance has been an issue for many people for as long as anyone could remember. “If at first you don’t succeed, give up, there’s no use in being a damned fool about it”, this modern twist on the old adage seems to convey the attitude of most people in this day and age. However there are a few people that decide to go all the way with it; people that decide defeat is not an answer. Sometimes they come out empty handed, sometimes not so. In both, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, the main characters both have obstacles that they must overcome and they push themselves to unthinkable limits to achieve their goals.

In The Old Man and the Sea, the novel takes place in Cuba. It follows a humble old man named Santiago. He has fished for many years of his life. During the time of the novella, the old man is in a fishing spell, yet he persists and sets out day after day. Despite all the criticism and the shame people feel for him, he continues to fish. During this novella, he overcomes many obstacles in his goal of catching the biggest fish in the sea. His perseverance, courage, and his attitude in the face of defeat exemplified the type of hero we look for in old films. This literary element is called characterization. The rich vocabulary in this fictional yet proverbial story tells of a vivid ocean, or a torn down, broken, but not defeated man. This literary element, imagery helped the reader perceive the torment the fish placed upon the old man, the town which Santiago was from, and the lonely, isolated ocean of which most of the story takes place on. His great determination and inspiring quotes gives such an understanding of his never failing desire to push himself until he achieves what his goal is, helps to develop the plot, a third literary element.

In The Bluest Eye, the main character is Pecola Breedlove and the novel jumps around throughout the many characters that surround her. This story is of the tragic events that lead up to the eventual insanity of Pecola. Pecola lives in the town of Lorain, Ohio in the years following the great depression. She is a very ugly black girl that has a dysfunctional family. Her father, is a drunk that continually abuses her family, her mother has a disability in her foot that has kept her isolated her whole life, and her brother runs away frequently. Pecola is the quiet, shy type that always gets the detriment of the doubt. Eventually this leads to her want for blue eyes, and her insanity. With an expert use of the literary element imagery and utilizing lavish language, Morrison is able to successfully draw the scenery and the situations in our minds. Jumping around throughout the lives of the many characters that surround Pecola is an example of the different points of view that Morrison employs to further elucidate the plot to the readers, a second literary element. Coming hand in hand with the plot is characterization. Her personality is defined by what happens to her and how she reacts. The indirect way Morrison can inform the reader of any characters personality does not hinder its effectiveness, rather it accentuates and gives Morrison a distinctive way of using the literary element, characterization.

Comparing these two books, its blatantly clear to say that perseverance is the drive that keeps us fighting

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