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

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Explain the relationship between Santiago and his fate in "The Old Man and the Sea."

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The answer to this question is subjective. The text doesn't use the word "fate," so it is going to largely be up to the reader's opinion. Furthermore, the question doesn't specify a specific fate. If Santiago was fated to return home with no catch, and he knew it, then there is no point in his going out and trying to fish.

It's possible that Santiago reaches a point in which he knows that his efforts to bring the fish home are fated for failure. If that is the case, then I think Santiago's relationship with his fate is that he isn't the type of person to believe in or give in to fate. He never stops fighting, and the closing sentence about the lion dream shows readers that Santiago will continue to go out, fish, and never give up.

It's also possible that his fate is to always go out and work the sea. It's all he knows, and it's all he has ever done. He is fated to have a relationship with the sea, and that relationship is both kind to him by awarding him with catches and unkind to him by withholding success or making him work really hard for it. Perhaps that is why he refers to the ocean in the feminine. It helps him visualize his fate with the ocean as someone might be fated to live through the good and the bad with a spouse.

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