I think the way Hemingway writes makes the book much more interesting than if it was just a story about a man catching a fish. When he narrates the old man's thoughts, he goes back and forth between feeling guilty for catching and killing such a magnificent fish to missing the boy who fished with him. I think this shows that Hemingway both respects nature and values relationships.
One example showing his respect for nature is that the old man really enjoys his dreams of lions he saw when he was young. He does not dream of anything else from his life, just the lions (Hemingway 18). Even when he is trying to catch the fish, he looks forward to dreaming abouth the lions (Hemingway 35). When something as small as a bird landing near him happens, the old man talks to the bird and lets it rest (Hemingway 30). Another example is that the old man feels guilty about catching the fish in the first place. He feels like the people who would eat the fish would not deserve to because the fish is so great (Hemingway 38). He does his best to fight the sharks that come to eat it not only because he needs to sell the fish but also because he does not want to see the fish torn apart and eaten. This shows that the old man had a lot of respect for his fish.
Even from the start of his fight with the fish, the old man wished the boy was with him. At times he wishes the boy was there to help him catch the fish, but mostly he misses the boy's company. He remembers catching one of a pair of marlin with the boy, and I think this memory was mentioned because at the time the old man felt guilty about catching the marlin that day (Hemingway 27). Now, catching this huge fish, the old man feels guilty again. The boy was a comfort to him when he caught the female marlin, and he wishes he had the boy to make him feel better while catching his monster fish. Throughout his entire time fishing the old man wishes the boy was with him, for no reason other than wishing he had company. The old man taught the boy to fish, and the boy makes sure the old man has good bait. The two try to take care of each other.
Hemingway has a lot of respect for both nature and relationships. The old man has huge respect and love for animals, and equal love for the boy. He thinks about both of them most of the time while he's fishing. If the author did not value these things, a doubt he would write about them.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Scribner, 2003. Print.