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Manolin is Santiago's only friend and companion. Santiago taught Manolin to fish, and the boy used to go out to sea with the old man until his parents objected to Santiago's bad luck. Manolin still helps Santiago pull in his boat in the evenings and provides the old man with food and bait when he needs it. Manolin would rather toil with Santiago for nothing than leave him. His family is poor but Manolin accepts the hardship. He is Santiago's disciple and, in some way, Manolin feels a sense of salvation through the old man.
The old man and the sea is a symbolic novel. Hemingway has used so many symbols in his novel. On one hand, Marlin is a hero of the sea. On the other hand, it is a symbol of human ambition. Man has limitless desires in his life. He has to suffer a lot to get his aim in life. He has to face much hardship to reach his goal. Marlin is a symbol of hardships come in the way of a person. When we see in the novel that Old Man hooked a big marlin, he faces a lot of problems and hardships to bring that marlin to the beach.