To be a man is to behave with honor and dignity: to not succumb to suffering, to accept one's duty without complaint and, most importantly, to display a maximum of self-control.
Santiago faces many adversities in the novel but the main one that makes up the plot is Santiago being shunned as a fisherman in his village by all of the people because he can not catch one fish.
The marlin for example represents struggle, trouble and the last challenge Santiago went through. As he struggles against the marlin despite the pain he suffers, Santiago recalls the figure of Joe DiMaggio, identified at the beginning of the novella as a heroic paragon.
Santiago is an old fisherman who lives in a small coast town in Cuba. At the same time, though, it is apparently Santiago's pride which presses him to travel dangerously far out into the sea, "beyond all people in the world," to catch the marlin It has mainly to do with the rise, battle and fall of the prey and respect following.
He wants to be like Santiago and be a skillful fisherman p. Therefore, the external nature is nothing but affliction to the mankind. First, the fish might dive to the bottom and break the line; second, it might die, and sink p.
Manolin idolizes Santiago but the object of this idolization is not only the once great though presently failed fisherman; it is an idolization of ideals. The relationship between Santiago and Manolin can be summed up in one sentence: "The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him" The boy needs the old man as a teacher, and the old man needs the boy as family.
The relationship between Santiago and the boy is introduced early in the story Manolin's father forced his son to switch to a more successful boat after 40 days had passed without a catch for Santiago; this is the amount of time Jesus wandered in the desert, tempted by Satan.