What is Santiago's role as fisherman in The Old Man and the Sea? How do the villagers view him? How would you describe the relationship between Santiago and Manolin?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Santiago is an elderly fisherman. Although he is skilled, experienced, and patient, he has not caught a fish for 85 days. He owns his own small skiff and works as a freelance fisherman, being paid for individual catches rather than being on salary as part of a fleet.

He is generally liked and admired by the villagers, who are willing to supply him with free food and generally view him as a good person. His long period without catching fish makes him "salao, which is the worst form of unlucky," which causes Manolin's parents to wish their son would not fish with him. 

Manolin was Santiago's apprentice and looks up to and loves the old man. Santiago is a mentor to Manolin, and loves him like a son. Part of Manolin's coming of age is his evolution from a child who is taught by the old man into a young man who acts as a caregiver for his aging mentor. 

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The Old Man and the Sea

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