Illustration of a marlin in the water

The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway

Start Free Trial

According to The Old Man and the Sea, who are Santiago's "distant friends"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago's voyage and struggle with the marlin leaves him lonely.  On one of the nights, he calls the stars his "distant friends." He celebrates all other two levels of the environment (the sky and the sea) now that he is departed from land.

He says the ocean (La Mar) is a woman he loves, and he calls the marlin his "brother."  He talks to his left hand and even to the boy, Manolin.  All of these apostrophes (direct address to someone or something not present) might seem like Santiago is lonely, but he is not.  He is communing with nature, and he seems at peace alone among the stars, drifting on the ocean.  A lesser fisherman would certainly panic and give up hope, but Santiago knows he is surrounded by friends.


See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team