| Quote #1
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat. (1.1)
The old man is forced into isolation because of his bad luck.
| Quote #2
"But you went turtle-ing for years off the Mosquito Coast and your eyes are good."
The old man’s description of himself as "strange" identifies him as a unique character, different from others. Because he is so different from others, he is often alone.
| Quote #3
On the brown walls of the flattened, overlapping leaves of the sturdy fibered guano there was a picture in color of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and another of the Virgin of Cobre. These were relics of his wife. Once there had been a tinted photograph of his wife on the wall but he had taken it down because it made him too lonely to see it and it was on the shelf in the corner under his clean shirt. (1.52)
The old man has had solitude forced upon him, separated from his wife by death and the boy by his parents.