Discuss the character of Manolin in The Old Man and the Sea

Manolin, the boy, is the second hero of the novel. He plays a significant role in the life of Santiago. Probably, he is the one that sustains Santiago and the tradition of pure fishermen. He is introduced to us as an old apprentice of Santiago. Though his parents have moved him to another fisherman because Santiago remained unlucky for over a month in catching some fish, yet he still comes to help the old man. The relationship between them seems to be that of the legend and the disciple.

Manolin is the hope of Santiago. He fulfills the social as well as physical needs of Santiago by bringing him newspaper, food and carrying his lines. The old man does think of the boy while fighting the fish: "If the boy were here". He really misses the company of the youth during his eighty fifth travel in the sea which results in another failure from a utilitarian point of view.

Manolin is the only one that feels for Santiago. We find him weeping at the end of the novel because he can understand what pains Santiago must have undergone while fighting such a big fish. He can understand the hunger borne by the great man. He can realize the shattered dreams of Santiago. He is the only sympathizer of Santiago.