The Old Man and the Sea

Why it is mentioned about the flag that " it looked like the flag of permanent defeat".

It is mentioned on page number 1 and question is that why author mentioned this?

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Last updated by Aslan
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I think this is relating to the sail on Santiago's old skiff. Like Santiago, the flag is worn out and has seen better days. The sail is connected with the motif of defeat embodied by Santiago's old age and failing ability to fish.