Explain why Santiago decides against drifting and sleeping for awhile with a line around his toe to wake him up in "Old Man and the Sea".

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Santiago considers the fact that he "could just drift...and sleep and put a bight of line around (his) toe to wake (him)" in case a fish took his bait, but he does not do this.  He says, "today is eighty-five days and I should fish the day well".

Santiago has not had a good catch in eighty-five days, which is a tremendously long period of bad luck.  He reasons that he should not slack off now, in case today is the day his luck might change.  There is also a deeper reason for his decision not to just drift and sleep while he is fishing, however.  Santiago takes great pride in his work, and it is important for him to always do a good job, even if no one is watching.  The dignity Santiago derives from his fishing abilities is a source of intense satisfaction to him.  He loves the act of fishing, and he will not sell his noble craft short by performing his duties in a haphazard manner.

Read the study guide:
The Old Man and the Sea

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question