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THE STORY - SUMMARY AND NOTES

THE FIRST DAY

MORNING

This is the last scene in which we'll see Manolin until the very end of the story, and it reinforces some things we know about their relationship: it's a very masculine relationship between partners who know each other well, yet at the same time it's gentle and caring.

Santiago simply takes hold of Manolin's foot, "gently," until the boy awakes. Once awake, even though sleepy, the boy goes about doing what has to be done.


They are not alike, these two partners walking barefoot through the early morning dark, but they reach toward an understanding of the other. Santiago apologizes for rousing the boy so early; there is real tenderness and affection coming from him here. The boy on his part accepts what must be. "Qui va." ("That's the way it goes.") And he adds, "It is what a man must do." He's accepting a "man's" life, which Santiago has been teaching him, even if he can't fully live it yet.

This maturity from Manolin is perhaps due to having had a good teacher. In many ways Santiago has treated him as an equal, trusting him, giving him challenges. It's significant that Manolin's new employer doesn't even let him carry the fishing gear, Santiago was different. "I let you carry things when you were five years old."

You might stop for a moment and think of who you consider to have been your best teachers. Were they like Santiago in some ways? Were they good because they challenged you, expected you to perform-and yet did so almost gently at times? That seems to have been Santiago's "teaching technique."

Another mark of a good teacher is the ability to teach not just a subject (English, math, Spanish, or fishing) but to teach life along with the subject. Santiago has apparently done that just by being himself. Perhaps you've had some teachers like that.

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