The Old Man and the Sea The Plot Compared to most novels, The Old Man and the Sea is unusual in many ways. The time span is very short; most of the action occurs during three days and three nights on the sea. There are also a "day before" and part of a "day after." Consider the demands this makes on the author. Three days in the life of one person- with no other people around. Normally that would make for a very boring story. But most readers agree that The Old Man and the Sea is not boring, for the exception of Mrs. Reynolds.
The Day Before Santiago, the "old man," has gone eighty-four days without catching a fish. He's a widower and there's no mention of any children of his own. He has only "the boy," Manolin, as companion and genuine friend. Manolin had been Santiago's apprentice, but the boys parents have made him work on another fishing boat because Santiago has "bad luck."
But he's still loyal to Santiago and helps the old man prepare for an attempt to catch "the big one." The First Day Santiago rows his skiff out from the Havana harbor far beyond normal fishing waters, hoping to end his string of bad luck with a really huge catch. He sets his lines and reads the sign of the sea, finding them favorable.
His deepest line shows signs of a fish nibbling at the bait, and he can tell it is a very large fish. After a final strike, he sets the hook- and the fish begins to tow the boat with ease. Santiago realizes this is not an ordinary fish.
-1- The First Night The fish continues to pull Santiago's skiff out to sea like a child pulling a toy wagon. Still,