The Old Man and the Sea

Friendship Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Resistance to Defeat Theme Icon
Pride Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Youth and Age Theme Icon
Man and Nature Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Old Man and the Sea, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Friendship Theme Icon

The friendship between Santiago and Manolin plays a critical part in Santiago's victory over the marlin. In return for Santiago's mentorship and company, Manolin provides physical support to Santiago in the village, bringing him food and clothing and helping him load his skiff. He also provides emotional support, encouraging Santiago throughout his unlucky streak. Although Santiago's "hope and confidence had never gone," when Manolin was present, "they were freshening as when the breeze rises." And once he encounters the marlin, Santiago refuses to accept defeat because he knows Manolin would be disappointed in him.

Yet most of the novella takes place when Santiago is alone. Except for Manolin's friendship in the evenings, Santiago is characterized by his isolation. His wife has died, and he lives and fishes alone. Even so, just as he refuses to give in to death, he refuses to give in to loneliness. Santiago finds friends in other creatures. The flying fish are "his principal friends on the ocean," and the marlin, through their shared struggle, becomes his "brother." He calls the stars his "distant friends," and thinks of the ocean as a woman he loves. Santiago talks to himself, talks to his weakened left hand, and imagines Manolin sitting next to him. In the end, these friendships—both real and imagined—prevent Santiago from pitying himself. As a result, he has the support to achieve what seems physically impossible for an old man.

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Friendship ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Friendship appears in each chapter of The Old Man and the Sea. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Friendship Quotes in The Old Man and the Sea

Below you will find the important quotes in The Old Man and the Sea related to the theme of Friendship.
Day One Quotes
"There are many good fishermen and some great ones. But there is only you."
Related Characters: Manolin (speaker), Santiago
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

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He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the lions on the beach. They played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them as he loved the boy.
Related Characters: Santiago, Manolin
Related Symbols: Lions
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

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Day Three Quotes
"Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends."
Related Characters: Santiago (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Marlin
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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Day Four Quotes
You are killing me, fish, the old man thought. But you have a right to. Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who.
Related Characters: Santiago (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Marlin
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

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You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?
Related Characters: Santiago (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Marlin
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

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Day Five Quotes
"How much did you suffer?"
"Plenty," the old man said.
Related Characters: Manolin (speaker)
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

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"To hell with luck," the boy said. "I'll bring the luck with me."
Related Characters: Manolin (speaker)
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

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