The Old Man and the Sea
How we cite our quotes:
He looked around for the bird now because he would have liked him for company. The bird was gone. (3.23)
The old man finds company in the creatures of the sea because he lacks the company of men. He may, however, prefer their company to men.
He looked across the sea and knew how alone he was now. But he could see the prisms in the deep dark water and the line stretching ahead and the strange undulation of the calm. The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea. (3.49)
The old man takes comfort in the presence of the creatures of the sea, despite the fact that there are no other men in sight.
"I told the boy I was a strange old man," he said. "Now is when I must prove it." (3.76)
The old man is strange in his individuality, in his isolation from others; it is in solitude that he must prove his individuality, his unique and admirable nature.