How does it represent what was happening in history?
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This story was written in the 1940's. I don't know if the story can be directly linked with greater world events (like WW2).Cuba and the United States were not quarrelling so much. Santiago, like the other fishermen, were individuals trying to make a living. There is a sense of change in the air. Santiago mentions the younger fishermen with their motorboats while Santiago prefers the old over the new. It is this resolute "oldness" that resonates throughout the story. Even Santiago himself identified with the past rather than the future, “Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated." The references to the great baseball player Joe DiMaggio provides some historical context but only as a sort of character foil to Santiago.