Comment on the old man's attitudes toward the sea, its creatures, and his own life in The Old Man and the Sea.

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Santiago, the old man in The Old Man and the Sea, regards the sea with a healthy mix of affection and respect for its power. He derives his living from the sea, finds beauty and pleasure in spending time at sea, but recognizes that the sea is a demanding thing and can take away as much as it gives.

He always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them.

His feelings about the creatures living in the sea differ, depending on the creature with which he is involved at any given time. He hated the Portuguese man-of-war and loved the sea turtles that ate them. He enjoyed watching the birds in flight and appreciated how they helped him to locate fish as they hunted. He recognized the beauty in the coloring and the streamlined bodies of the fish he caught. He considered the fish his brothers, fellow creatures living as best they could in their world, and prey that allowed him to survive.

Perhaps it was a sin to kill the fish. I suppose it was even though I did it to keep me alive and feed many people ....You were born to be a fisherman as the fish was born to be a fish.

In thinking of his own life, Santiago accepts his age and the challenges in his body from past battles, but he is still proud of his abilities and looks forward to using them in years to come.

Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.

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The Old Man and the Sea

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