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A single human being,represented by the fisherman Santiago, is blessed with the intelligence to do big things and todream of even grander things. Santiago shows great skill in devising ways to tire out the hugefish he has hooked and ways to conserve his strength in order to land it. Yet in the struggle tosurvive, this human must often suffer and even destroy the very thing he dreams of. ThusSantiago cuts his hands badly and loses the fish to sharks in the process of trying to get his catch back to shore. Yet the struggle to achieve one's dreams is still worthwhile, for without dreams, ahuman remains a mere physical presence in the universe, with no creative or spiritual dimension.And so at the end of the story, Santiago, in spite of his great loss, physical pain, and exhaustion,is still "dreaming about the lions" — the same ones he saw in Africa when he was younger andwould like to see again.LoveAgainst the seeming indifference of the universe, love is often the only force that endures. Thisforce is best seen in the relationship of Santiago and Manolin, which has endured sinceManolin's early childhood. Over the years, Santiago has taught Manolin to fish and given himcompanionship and a sense of self-worth that Manolin failed to get from his own father. Manolinin return shows his love for Santiago by bringing him food and by weeping for him when he seeshow much he suffered in fighting the marlin. Manolin also plans to take care of Santiago duringthe coming winter by bringing him clothing and water for washing.Santiago's love, of course, extends to other people as well. He loved his wife when they weremarried, though when she died he had to take down her portrait because it made him feel lonely.Similarly, even in his suffering he thinks of others, remembering his promise to send the fishhead to his friend Pederico to use as bait. Santiago's love also extends to include nature itself,even though he has often suffered at its hands. His love for all living creatures, whether fish, birds, or turtles, is often described, as is his love for the sea, which he sees as a woman whogives or withholds favors. Some of the younger fishermen, in contrast, often spoke of the sea as a"contestant" or even an "enemy."Youth and Old AgeThe comparison and contrast of these two stages of human life runs throughout the story.Although Santiago is obviously an old man, in many ways he retains a youthful perspective onlife. For example, he is a keen follower of baseball, and admires players like Joe DiMaggio andDick Sisler for their youthful skills and abilities. His friendship with Manolin is also based partlyon Santiago's fond recollections of his own youth. For example, he recalls the time he saw thelions on the beach in Africa or when he beat a well-known player in a hand-wrestling match thatlasted all day. His repeated wish that the boy were in the boat is not made just because thatwould make it easier to fight the fish. He also misses the boy as a companion with his...