Describe the relationship between the man and the boy in The Old Man and the Sea.

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The relationship between Manolin and Santiago is one of apprentice and teacher that grows into a deeper, meaningful friendship. Manolin looks up to Santiago and respects him as a once successful fisherman despite his parents' feelings towards the old man. He also views the old man as his spiritual father and inspiration. In turn, Santiago selflessly teaches Manolin his craft and is sympathetic to his needs. Unlike Manolin's father, Santiago shows concern and genuine interest in Manolin. There is also a mutual respect between Santiago and Manolin. Santiago respects the fact that Manolin is willing to carry on his legacy and trusts him to do so. Santiago develops a love for Manolin and views him like a son. In turn, Manolin appreciates the opportunity to learn from the old man and shows great affection for Santiago. Their relationship begins as apprentice/teacher and transforms into father/son. 

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The role os Manolin is that of an apprentice or son. Manolin represents the new and Santiago is the old. However Manolin is forbidden by his father to spend time with Santiago, Manolin still goes. As time proceeds and their relationship develops Manolin respects Santiago even more. He chooses Santiago's way over his father's. Manolin was used by Hemingway to bring out Santiago's qualities even more. Without Manolin the reader would know less about Santiago.

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I believe that the simple sentence that describes the relationship between the old man and the boy is

"The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him".

Santiago had taken the boy, Manolin, under his wing when the boy was only five years old.  They had gone out in the boat, and Santiago remembers that the boy had very nearly been killed when he brought the fish in too green and "he nearly tore the boat to pieces".  The boy clearly remembers details of that incident, but does not seem to have been afraid; he recalls Santiago "throwing (him) into the bow where the wet coiled lines were" to keep him safely out of the way.  Santiago has always included Manolin in all aspects of his craft, and the boy appreciates that.  His own father prefers to do things on his own, and sometimes makes the boy feel "inferior".  Santiago makes the boy feel capable, and Manolin thinks the old man is "the best fisherman", far better than the "many good fishermen and some great ones" of which he knows.

Manolin is obedient to his father, but it is Santiago whom he loves.  His father has forbidden the boy to fish with Santiago because he thinks the old man is no longer an effective fisherman; Manolin "must obey" because "(he) is a boy", but still, he has faith in Santiago.  Despite not being allowed to fish with him anymore, Manolin looks after Santiago, making sure he has bait and food, and lovingly anticipating his needs.  Realizing that the village water supply is a good distance from the old man's home, he brings him water and washing supplies, and plans to "get him another shirt and a jacket for the winter and some sort of shoes and another blanket".

Santiago and Manolin enjoy each others' company, and share a mutual respect.  Their relationship is based on love, and they look out for each other like a father and a son, Santiago having taught the boy his trade when he was young, and Manolin looking after Santiago now that he is old.

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Hemingway creates a very powerful, poignant relationship between the old man, Santiago, and the young boy, Manolin. At the onset of the novel, even though the entire town has turned against Santiago, because he is salao, truly unlucky,Manolin still cares and believes in Santiago. The young boy can no longer fish with the old man;his parents forbid it. However, by the end of the novel, Manolin makes his own decision to fish with Santiago.Santiago undergoes the trial with the marlin, nearly losing himself, his soul, when the fish is torn apart by sharks for no reason at all. Manolin cares for Santiago upon his return to the village.Santiago sees youth in Manolin, a young boy who is not scarred by the world as he is;Manolin is the hope for a new day, necessary to the Hemingway code hero.

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The relationship between the boy, Manolin, and the old man, Santiago, is one of caring and friendship. Manolin used to fish with Santiago, but has now been forbidden by his father to go with the old man anymore because of Santiago's recent run of bad luck. Manolin still manages to go see Santiago, though, doing various small jobs for him, bringing him beer at the beginning of the story.

Manolin even tells Santiago that he will try to get his father to fish near where Santiago is planning to fish, so that when Santiago catches a big one, they can be nearby to come to his aid. This shows another dimension to their relationship - while everyone else in the town has decided that Santiago is bad luck and nothing good will ever happen to him again, Manolin is still convinced of Santiago's greatness as a fisherman and that it is just a matter of time before the bad streak ends. By the same token, Santiago is encouraging and trusting of Manolin, convinced of his worth as a fisherman, even though Manolin's own father doesn't think he's capable of very much.

The element of respect and trust between these two characters is quite moving to read. Check the links below for more information - Good luck!

 

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