Anthony Burgess notes the "almost religious humility" evidenced by Santiago in the passage quoted above: "It is easy to understand why the novella was, and continues to be, so universally popular. It is about courage maintained in the face of failure. . . . Like the matador with the bull, [Santiago] feels drawn to the magnificent creature, so that, though one has to kill the other, he does not mind who kills whom" (Ernest Hemingway and His World).