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

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In The Old Man and the Sea, what is Santiago's relationship with the sea?

In The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago's relationship with the sea is a very close one. As an old fisherman, he knows the sea like the back of his hand. And as such, it's about the only place where he can feel completely at home. The sea provides Santiago with his sole means of support. It sustains him. It gives him food and money. But it also keeps him alive in giving Santiago a purpose in life.

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For Santiago, the sea isn't just a large body of water. It isn't just his place of work, a place where he makes a living. It's so much more than that: it's an extension of his soul. Whereas others may look upon the sea as an object of the natural world to be exploited for its riches, Santiago is joined to the shimmering blue by an almost mystical bond. He belongs to the sea as much as it belongs to him.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, Santiago only ever feels at home out there on the water. Even though his job as a fisherman's becoming more and more of a struggle due to his advancing years, he needs to be out there in his boat. The sea is in his blood, and one gets the distinct impression that once he's no longer able to fish, then this life will effectively come to an end.

His latest expedition may not have been a success; in fact, it's been pretty much a disaster. But in the overall scheme of things, that's not what really matters. What matters is that Santiago is still physically able to...

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