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

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what is the relationship between human beings and nature in The Old Man and the Sea?

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In Hemingway's tale of the struggle of man against the sea, there is the establishment of opposing forces, while at the same time there is a respectful acknowledgement of the puissance of Nature against which man is often powerless.

Despite his prowess as a fisherman, Santiago recognizes the superiority of the sea. At the same time he loves the sea, calling it "la mer" rather than the masculine "el mar" which many other fishermen use to denote their competition with this mighty element of nature. Santiago recognizes that he is a part of nature:

Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated. (Ch.1)

While he catches the marlin and ends his bad luck, Santiago is...

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