Compare the old man and the fish in The Old Man and the Sea.

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The fish is both a competitor and a companion for the old man, Santiago. The old man, a skilled and knowledgeable fisherman, has been competing all of his life. As a young man, he competed in a twenty-four-hour arm-wrestling match against the “strongest man on the docks.” Blood dripping down both of their arms, the men were evenly matched until the very end, when Santiago exerted a final effort that defeated his competitor. Similarly, when he hooks the fish, he quickly realizes that this fish is like no other fish he has seen; it too is a worthy competitor that will take all of his effort, experience, strength, and knowledge in order to defeat. Even without seeing the fish, he imagines the powerful fins, the tail, and even the huge, all-seeing eyes. Interestingly, the old man’s shoulders and eyes are also described as still powerful and not weakened by age. The toll of killing this fish is brutal: during the three days spent battling this fish, the old man has had little food,...

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