The Old Man and the Sea
How we cite our quotes:
He started to pull the fish in to have him alongside so that he could pass a line through his gills and out his mouth and make his head fast alongside the bow. I want to see him, he thought, and to touch and to feel him. He is my fortune, he thought. But that is not why I wish to feel him. I think I felt his heart, he thought. When I pushed on the harpoon shaft the second time. Bring him in now and make him fast and get the noose around his tail and another around his middle to bind him to the skiff. (4.71)
The old man’s feelings for the fish are not pride at having killed a creature so great. Rather, they are respect and brotherhood at a creature he sees as equal to himself.
He did not like to look at the fish anymore since he had been mutilated. When the fish had been hit it was as though he himself were hit. (4.90)
It becomes as if the old man’s battle with the marlin were battle with himself.
But he liked to think about all things that he was involved in and since there was nothing to read and he did not have a radio, he thought much and he kept on thinking about sin. You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more? (4.104)
The old man’s feelings for the fish impose the question of morality onto his struggle.