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

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Describe the relationship between the old man and the fish in The Old Man and the Sea.

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I think that you could probably go two different directions with this answer. A common answer is to describe the relationship between Santiago and the marlin as a respectful relationship between two equally strong opponents. The man and the fish are not necessarily enemies of each other, but the fish is definitely in a battle for its life, and it generally wins those fights as evidenced by the additional hooks found on it. Santiago is a fisherman, and he has great respect for the sea and the animals found within it. When the battle is over, Santiago is both relieved and saddened, and readers see just how respectful Santiago is when he can't protect his catch from the greedy sharks.

The other way to describe the relationship is to go toward the direction of saying that the fish is nothing more than something he needs to obtain to continue his existence. This is a cold relationship and quite an existential relationship. Santiago is a fisherman; therefore, his existence is defined by his...

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