The old man states that he respects the fish. How does he demonstrate this respect?
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Santiago's identification with and affection for the marlin increases the longer he is with the fish. In order to convince the fish to be caught and to steel himself for his difficult task, Santiago says, "Fish... I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you before this day ends" (54). Soon after, Santiago tells the bird that has landed on his boat that he cannot help because he is "with a friend" (55). And later, Santiago goes as far as to wish that he could feed the marlin, calling it his brother.