The Old Man and the Sea Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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At the end of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, what valuable lesson does Santiago learn about the idea of death?

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This type of question has always struck me as odd. Santiago is an old man, and he has been fishing his entire life. Fishing and killing fish is nothing new to him. The cycle of life is nothing new to him, and I'm quite certain he has probably known other fishermen that have died while out fishing. I hesitate to say that Santiago learned anything about death during the events of this story that greatly enhanced his knowledge about that particular topic.

What I do think is that Santiago's experience in this book gave him further evidence to support what he already knows. Santiago knows that the fish have to die to support his living, and he knows that he will eventually die of starvation if he doesn't catch fish to feed himself or financially support himself with. Santiago also knows that the world is filled with predators other than himself. That's why the warbler will get preyed upon by the hawk. It's why the sharks ruin his prize catch. Death is inevitable, and events of the story...

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