Santiago, has suffered so much and payed so much for his endeavor to catch the marlin. Did he pay the ultimate price in the end? With the death of his goal, he dies as well. The only purpose he had left was to catch the marlin and only to have it slip from his grasp. When your purpose is gone then there is no reason left for you to live, and Santiago lets go of his grip on life.
Throughout the book, Santiago gets battered and bashed. He gets cut on both his hands and his forehead, not unlike Jesus christ. He gets cuts below his eyes. His hands cramp up and fail him. He is even weak from his skin cancer. Towards the end of his journey in the seas he tastes a substance not unlike copper in his mouth and feels pain. When he finally arrives back home, he carries his mast up the hill, like Jesus carried his cross up the hill to be crucified. Half the way up the slope, he falls from weakness and struggles to stand back up. Later he feels pain in his chest and spits an odd substance from his mouth. He feels as if he is broken inside somewhere. Spitting blood, internal pain, feeling broken; he’s dying. His final position is even in an unnatural pose, that no living person would be in, this pose is also the one that Jesus was in upon his cross. Santiago has been a parallel to Jesus throughout the book, and if you’re going to compare him to Jesus, then he must meet a similar end.
Santiago finally has concluded the great struggle to catch the fish and lives to fish another day. During the struggle with the marlin, Santiago experiences suffering and pain from the fight with the marlin. When he is in pain and feels like giving up he thinks of boy, the boy gives him hope. Santiago cares for Manolin and the two of them have become good friends during their years of fishing. On page 50 and 51 Santiago constantly talks about the boy and how he wished he brought him along for the trip.
When Santiago returns Manolin finds him and goes to get him coffee, as he does this he begins crying all the way to get the coffee and bring it to Santiago. This shows the relationship between Santiago. And by the end of the book Manolin wants to fish with Santiago even if his parents forbid it. He believes he has more to learn from Santiago.
Santiago didn't achieve his goal of catching the Marlin in the end which struck at his pride, even after all he went through, all the emotional pain of missing the boy and the physical pain of his cuts and bruises given to him by the Marlin's fight for escape. The sharks were the ones who took his goal from him by eating the Marlin but Santiago retaliated by killing several sharks to defend his 'catch'. When he got back to land he was tired and frustrated about all the time he spent to get the Marlin, he collapsed part way to his shack and did five more times which showed just how exhausted he was after the journey. Manolin came in to check in on him and saw his hands had been injured, he began to cry because he cared very much for Santiago and was sad he had gotten hurt. The boy still wanted Santiago to teach him even though his parents forbid it which shows these two have a great bond, Santiago brought what was left of the Marlin back and became a living legend for it.
Santiago DID realise his goal of catching the fish; it was recognised by the fishermen who validated his catch because they asked after him to Manolin. The battle was won when Santiago latched the fish to the side of his boat.
True, he was sporting battle scars, however he only really relates to a numbness that was disconcerting because he reminisces the past, when he beat the exotic man at arm wrestling in his younger days. Coughing out a weird taste, mentioning his broken chest and the child crying did make me question his pending death; however the sleep and the lack of any talk to himself about impending perpetual blackness made me conclude that he merely slept, and dreamed of the Lion as he always did. The fact that he plans to fish with the boy merely cements his relationship and has removed his stubborness for the child to not work with him.
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