The Old Man and the Sea


Cast of Characters


The "old man" and protagonist of the novel. Santiago is a gaunt, tanned, blue-eyed fisherman who lives in a small shack in a fishing village near Havana, Cuba. At the start of the novel, he has gone 84 days without catching a fish, and come to be considered unlucky. Thus, his young assistant, Manolin, is no longer allowed to fish with him. However, Santiago has been preparing himself for the "the truly big fish" he still hopes to catch by eating egg whites, drinking shark liver oil, and planning to go far out beyond where the other fisherman go. As the novel progresses, Santiago reaffirms his dignity and strength, deciding it is better to be exact in his actions than lucky, and eventually regains his status as a respected fisherman.


Manolin is Santiago's faithful fishing assistant. He is described as a boy, but buys beer and carries large fishing equipment, so he is probably an adolescent or an unwed young man. Manolin lives with his father and his mother. Santiago has been teaching Manolin to fish since he was five years old. Manolin still helps Santiago before and after he fishes, despite no longer being allowed to fish with him. Although Manolin appears only at the very beginning and end of The Old Man and the Sea, his love for Santiago comforts the old man throughout his journey. At the end of the novel, Manolin resolves to fish with Santiago again regardless of what his family says.

The marlin:

Although the marlin that Santiago pursues seems to be just a fish, Santiago anthropomorphizes it by projecting the traits he admires on to the marlin. Santiago describes the marlin as calm, strong, fearless, confident, noble, great, and beautiful. Santiago eventually considers the fish his brother and says he loves him, despite the fact that circumstances have made them adversaries. When Santiago finally sees the marlin, he is described as purple and silver in color, striped, and weighing over 1,500 pounds. On the shore, a...

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Essays About The Old Man and the Sea