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  • The story opens by introducing Santiago, an old Cuban fisherman, who has not been able to get a decent catch in eighty-four days. Manolin, Santiago’s loyal young
  • “‘And the best fisherman is you.’ ‘No. I know others better.’ ‘Qué va,’ the boy said. ‘There are many good fishermen and some great ones. But there is only you.’ ‘Thank you. You make me happy. I hope no fish will come along so great that he will prove us wrong’” (23).
  • The next morning, Santiago meets with Manolin over coffee and sets out before sunrise with confidence that he will finally be able to break his eighty-four day streak without fish. He
  • “‘I wish I had the boy... I’m being towed by a fish and I’m the towing bitt’” (45).
  • “As the sun set he remembered, to give himself more confidence, the time in the tavern at Casablanca when he had played the hand game with the great negro... who was the strongest man on the docks” (68-69).
  • The marlin tows Santiago’s skiff further out to sea through the night, a second day, and another night. During this time, the old man eats some small fish which he catches, battles a hand cramp, endures burns and cuts on his hands and back from the line, and
  • friend and his fishing partner before the boy’s parents forbid him from fishing with the old man for fear of bad luck, brings dinner and eats with Santiago. They discuss plans for the following day and talk of baseball before they sleep.
  • On the morning of the third day, the marlin finally begins to circle the boat, and Santiago is able to gain the advantage and very slowly bring him in. However, the process takes
  • hopes for a turning point in his luck today and rows far out. After musing over the sea, birds, and sea creatures which pass his skiff and after preparing several lines, Santiago catches an albacore via the help of the bird. Then, Santiago hooks a fish which he realizes is too strong for him to pull in.
  • Just an hour into the return trip, the first of several sharks, led by the scent of blood, comes to feed on the fish. First using his harpoon, then a knife tied to his oar, and then beating them with his club and the tiller, Santiago defends the fish from many sharks
  • steals only a little sleep. Once, the marlin leaps from the water, and Santiago sees for the first time its tremendous size. By this point, both Santiago’s pity and admiration for the fish have begun to grow, though his resolve does not falter. He prays, remembers fishing with Manolin, and gains courage from thoughts of DiMaggio’s perseverance and his own many years ago when he triumphed after a twenty-four hour arm-wrestling match.
  • It is late at night when Santiago drifts into the harbor and pulls his boat ashore. After struggling home with the mast, he collapses onto his bed. The next morning, Manolin finds him asleep and cries with relief and with sadness for the suffering he knows Santiago has
  • “You are killing me, fish, the old man thought. But you have a right to. Never have I seen a greater, more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who. Now you are getting confused in the head, he thought” (92).
  • hours, and several times Santiago nearly faints from extreme exertion and exhaustion. Finally, the old man summons the strength to pull the fish over on his side right along the boat, and he harpoons him. Santiago lashes the more than fifteen hundred pound marlin to the side of his skiff, steps the mast, and sets sail for home with the breeze.
  • “It was too good to last, he thought. I wish it had been a dream now and that I had never hooked the fish... ‘But man is not made for defeat,’ he said. ‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated.’ I am sorry that I killed the fish though, he thought” (103).
  • intermittently throughout the day and the night. But it is no use; each takes a bite or more, and the marlin is soon eaten to the bone. Wishing the whole experience had never happened, Santiago settles into the stern with “no thoughts nor feelings of any kind” (119). The journey was both physically and emotionally exhausting.
  • “‘Now we fish together again... The hell with luck,’ the boy said. ‘I’ll bring the luck with me... But we will fish together now for I still have much to learn’” (125).
  • endured. The villagers show respect and concern for Santiago and many fishermen go down to the shore to see the fish, which they measure to be 18 ft. When the old man wakes, the boy is waiting with coffee. Manolin insists that they fish as a pair again and that Santiago rest and recover. He then goes out for breakfast, newspapers, and bandages. The book ends peacefully as the old man is respected and has a fishing partner for life.
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