Who is Dimaggio and why santiago likes him
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Joe DiMaggio represents many things to the old man. Santiago sees DiMaggio as an equal. One whose father was a poor fisherman just like he is. When he was out fishing he thought to himself, would the great DiMaggio ever stay this long as he did and quickly replied to himself that DiMaggio is young and strong and that his father was a fisherman so of course he would stay. This made him feel better because now he could compare himself to his hero. Santiago thought that DiMaggio would understand him because of their background being the same. He wanted someone like the boy that would listen to him but understood him more and he believes DiMaggio could be that person. Joe DiMaggio also represents hope that the old man has for Manolin. He wishes that the boy will grow up and be like the great DiMaggio so that he will not be a poor fisher like he is. Please see source link below where this excerpt was taken.
Joe DiMaggio was a baseball player and Santiago was inspired of him. There were few things which were same as the old man such as DiMaggio's father was a poor fisherman just like the old man ( Santiago). Santiago thought that DiMaggio would understand his feelings.