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When I read the book as a kid, I was certain that the "fish" is a narwhal. I'm rereading it now, many years later, and a quick Google search told me I was wrong all these years: the fish is a marlin. However, in the same book, the old man recalls seeing a big marlin in the past. So he knows what marlin is and what it looks like. Why does he keep referring to the fish as a "fish" and never mentions it to be a marlin?

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    No reference, just my thoughts - but, imo, the point is to let you feel the old man's solitude. He knows perfectly well what this fish is, and there is no need for him to point it out to himself. Doing so would start to create a two-way connection between the reader and the character, and Hemingway doesn't want that. – Misha R May 19 '18 at 14:07
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    Too long since I've read this book, which I consider to be the author's finest. He was going for a universality in the story, and for this reason, may have stuck to "fish"... (just a guess) – DukeZhou May 21 '18 at 21:12

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