Why does the boy not go out with the fishing boats the morning of Santiago's return. 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Manolin does not go out with the fishing boats on the morning of Santiago's return for these possible reasons:

  • He has slept late
  • The wind is blowing too much; it is harder to cast and harder to control the fishing line and lures, as well as the boat. 
  • He loves Santiago and wishes to tend the old man, whom he knows must be worn out and possibly hurt.
  • He may wish to wait and fish again with his friend and teacher, Santiago
  • He may even be worried that he could be seeing Santiago for the last time this day


Possessing a certain spiritual quality, the narrative of The Old Man and the Sea presents--uncharacteristically for the author--the already developed code hero of Hemingway who, despite having caught no fish in eighty-four days continues to go out.

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.

Despite his parents' superstitions, the boy continues to visit the old man, whom he loves and respects also for the old man's piety for nature and his admiration for those who continue through adversity, such as New York Yankee, Joe DiMaggio, who played heroically with excruciating bone spurs in his feet.

After Santiago returns with only the skeleton remains of the "great fish," the other fishermen know that his bad luck yet continues. But, in his loving devotion to Santiago, Manolin hastens to the old man to bring him food and comfort. When Santiago awakens, he and Manolin converse; the boy tells Santiago that they must make plans about other things, for he still has much to learn, adding,

“Now we fish together again.”
“No. I am not lucky. I am not lucky anymore.”
“The hell with luck,” the boy said. “I’ll bring the luck with me.”

Manolin speaks, then, of replacing Santiago's knife and "getting everything in order" so that they can go out together again. When he tells Santiago to take care of his wounded hands, the old fisherman replies that he knows well how to care for them, but he adds,

"In the night I spat something strange and felt something in my chest was broken.”

Manolin merely replies, "Get that well, too." However, as he returns home down the rock path from Santiago's meager dwelling, he is crying. For, he realizes that the old man will no longer fish as he has before, despite his heroic stoicism and courage. The physical damage to his care-worn body is too much.

Therefore, it may also have been that with a certain presentiment of Santiago's having been irreparably harmed during his three-day struggle with the great fish that Manolin chooses to visit his beloved friend rather than go out with the fishermen.

Read the study guide:
The Old Man and the Sea

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