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Santiago admits that much of his motives for fishing the Marlin comes out of pride. He needed to prove that he can still fish these waters. Fishing is his identity.He needed to prove that he can still out fish the younger men who laugh at him. Santiago wanted to feel pride in his past and pride in his present,
"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..."