There is no question that the hero in this story is the fish. Just kidding, it's the old man. I think one of the really interesting things about his character is that he is not just existing in the time he spends catching a fish, but has had an entire life before the story and will continue after it is finished. I think he acomplishes a good deal and represents certain characteristics too.
It is really amazing that in a book so short Hemingway portrays such a complete character. The way he stiches together the character's past with his present makes it feel like you are reading about a real person with a real past and real feelings. The old man will think about something, like how the sun is not hurting his eyes too much, and then mention how it used to be when he was younger, like that it had always hurt his eyes in the morning (Hemingway 20). Details like this make the old man seem alive. When he starts to get tired, he starts thinking more of his past. Memories that do not have much to do with the current story, like the one about the arm wrestling contest, make the old man deeper as a character (Hemingway 35). Right now, I am still trying to make myself believe that he is fictional.
In the book, the old man catches his fish. That is a huge acomplishment. For days he fights exhaustion and a monsterous fish and wins in the end. Because of this he can prove his bad luck is over.
I think the old man represents endurance if anything. He holds on to a line for days with a giant fish pulling him at the other end of it. He survives on raw fish and pure will power. Even when his shoulders hurt and his hand cramps he keeps his hold on the line (Hemingway 33).
At this point, I have decided to accept my delusion and believe that the old man is real. As I said in my last post, a person needs heroes, even fictional ones.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Scribner, 2003. Print.