As the sun rises, the old man realizes the fish doesn’t seem to be getting tired. But he is swimming closer to the surface, which means he might jump.
The old man addresses the fish again. I love you, he says, but I will kill you. Fatal Attraction, anyone?
The old man sees a low-flying bird, who must be very tired.
The bird perches on the line and the old man talks to it, telling it that it shouldn’t be so tired.
He then refers to the fish as a friend. The fish responds by almost pulling the old man overboard. His hand is bleeding. Love hurts.
He says again that he 1) must eat the tuna and that 2) he wishes the boy were there. Think of it as a chorus in a song.
He washes his bloody hand in the water. Shoot, he thinks, I really need my hands for this.
His hand cramps up and he chastises it as if it were a misbehaving child. Except he essentially says "screw you" to it, which isn’t a recommended child-rearing tactic.
After all this talk about eating the tuna, the old man finally ... eats the tuna.
Interestingly, the old man wishes he could feed the marlin, his "brother."
He sees some wild ducks and realizes that a person is never alone on the sea.
The weather is good – except for it being hurricane season. Seriously, though, he would be able to see it coming if a hurricane was on the way. There’s a little birdie that tells him so.
He finds his cramp to be humiliating.
He wishes the boy were there to massage the cramp away.
The fish starts coming toward the surface. This is hugely exciting.
The fish comes out of the water. He’s purple and longer than the boat. Holy cow.
Interestingly, the old man says he has to hide the fish’s strength from him. He notes that people are smarter, but fish are more noble.
The old man has seen fish this size but never caught one by himself.
But why did the fish jump? The old man doesn’t know, either.
He’s spending all this time thinking (mostly about his cramped hand) and wishes he were the fish – life would be so much easier. Except for the whole hook in your mouth thing.
Since brute strength appears not to be working, the old man says some prayers and talks about making a religious pilgrimage.
No, wait, he just promises that he will make the pilgrimage if he catches the fish. Dude, you have to pay the cashier before you get the merchandise.
He decides to re-bait the other lines so he can catch some smaller fish to eat in case the marlin decides to spend another night in Hotel Agony by the Sea.
He comments on being "a strange old man."
Next comes, in our humble opinion, the most important paragraph in the entire book. Read it. The one about proving oneself. Read it again.
THEN he proceeds to talk about the LIONS. Coincidence? Most certainly not.
The old man recalls that, once upon a time, he could see decently well in the dark.
He comments on the fish being strange.
He thinks about baseball. He knows who’s playing whom.
He compares himself to DiMaggio and some fighting cocks. Oh, and the fish, who he still wants to be.
I’m totally screwed if there are sharks, he thinks.
How much fun is arm wrestling? The old man remembers competing at it for two straight days (one round!) against a black man in Casablanca. They played it 'till their fingers bled. Was it the summer of...we don’t know the year.
Everyone watched them, refereed, placed bets, stood around and gaped at their ridiculous stamina.
He almost lost, almost lost, almost lost, and then ... he won.
After that, everyone called him The Champion. Rock on, old man.
The old man could have been champion of the world. At least in arm wrestling. But he decided he needed his right hand for fishing.
He tried to arm wrestle with his left hand, but it betrayed him. (Yes, that’s the same hand cramping up at the moment.)
He hopes for a dolphin so he’ll have something to eat.
He wonders why the fish are purple.
Right around nighttime (night number two), he gets a dolphin on the other line. He clubs it on the head.
The fish hasn’t changed at all. It’s just slower. Which, last time we checked, counts as change.
When to gut the dolphin? We agonize over such decisions ourselves.
He rigs up the line so that the boat is taking a lot of the strain instead of him.
Eating this food? Not pleasant, considering it’s bloody and occasionally still flopping about. The man hasn’t eaten in a day and it’s a painful process to FORCE this food into his stomach.
The cramp is gone.
He looks at the stars. He is sad about killing the fish but glad he doesn’t have to kill the stars. Now THAT would be a battle.
He’s still up for killing the fish but sad that people will eat this noble creature.
He believes that hunger will be the end of this big fish.
There is a constant concern that the fish may break the line.
He figures out that he needs to sleep in order to not "become unclear in the head."
He cuts open the dolphin and finds two flying fish inside, which is essentially like a Christmas present, or possibly a very disgusting Easter Egg.
He eats the raw fish.
He notes that there will be bad weather in three to four days, which means this fish business better be done soon.
He doesn’t dream about lions. He dreams about porpoises instead. And then he dreams about the lions. Phew. And he is happy.