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

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What is the relationship between Santigo and Manolin in The Old Man and the Sea?

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Asher Wismer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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For a long time, it was common for a young person seeking to learn a trade to apprentice with an older, experienced person. This apprenticeship served to pass on useful skills and develop real-world experience in working. Manolin is an apprentice fisherman in a fishing village; many of the men in the village work on the water, and so it is normal for Manolin to apprentice with one fisherman or another. He sails with Santiago for forty days, during a long streak of bad fishing:

But after forty days without a fish the boy's parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week.
(Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, Google Books)

This, again, is typical; if Santiago is not catching fish, switch to a fisherman who does catch them. However, during their time together, Manolin becomes enamored with Santiago's personality and his experiences, and they become good friends with a father-son relationship. Manolin is the innocent side of Santiago's personality, sharing many of his interests but looking on them with fresh eyes; Santiago, for his part, sees Manolin as someone who should aspire to greater things than Santiago did in his own life, but also enjoys the boy's attention and loves him as a son. By the end of the story, Manolin has resolved to learn from Santiago no matter what his parents say, thus ensuring that Santiago's life and experience will live on.

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S.L. Watson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Though I will deal directly with friendship first. Their relationship goes far beyond friendship; they have a soul bond. The boy needs the old man as a teacher and the old man needs the boy as family. Hemingway creates a very powerful, poignant relationship between the old man, Santiago, and the young boy, Manolin. At the onset of the novel, even though the entire town has turned against Santiago, because he is salao, truly unlucky,Manolin still caresĀ and believes in Santiago. The young boy can no longer fish with the old man;his parents forbid it. However, by the end of the novel, Manolin makes his own decision to fish with Santiago.Santiago undergoes the trial with the marlin, nearly losing himself, his soul, when the fish is torn apart by sharks for no reason at all. Manolin cares for Santiago upon his return to the village.Santiago sees youth in Manolin, a young boy who is not scarred by the world as he is;Manolin is the hope for a new day, necessary to the Hemingway

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evvyy | Student
Manolin is the devoted pupil of Santiago.He has learnt the art of fishing from Santiago.He has been with him since the age of five.the boy is fully attached with Santiago.He loves the old fisherman sincerely and selflessly.there not only exists the disciple - teacher relationship but also son - father relationship.when at night old man goes to sleep he spreads the blanket over his body so that he may not catch cold.he has not any type of greed against him.The boy weeps bitterly when he sees him exhausted and his hand cramped.he declares to him, "Now we fish together again".the old man too loves him greatly. he reminds him of his youthful strength.the old man derives much consolation from the thoughts of the boy.he remembers the boy a number of times during the fish expedition. In a nut shell we can say that there exists a warm relationship of son-father between the old man and the boy.both cares and loves a lot for each other.