Santiago’s repeated dream of treasure by the Pyramids reveals the importance of dreams generally in the novel, and not just literal ones. This particular dream is presented as key, and both the fortune teller and Melchizedek encourage Santiago to follow it literally. But the centrality of dreams in the novel is based more generally on the idea that youthful hopes for the future should not be displaced as one ages, but rather should be held on to and pursued with passion throughout one’s life. Santiago is in this way an everyman hero in that he holds fast to his dream despite discouraging events such as the theft of his money in the marketplace. Coelho suggests that because he has his dream to fall back on, even material deprivations cannot discourage the boy from pursuing his goal and following his dream, literally of the Pyramids and figuratively of leaving the comforts of home for a great adventure. Unlike the baker or crystal merchant, who, like most, prioritized material success and comfort over following the dreams of their youth, Santiago experiences the joy that accompanies fulfillment of one’s spiritual quest. Love
A secondary theme in The Alchemist is that of love, which Santiago craves at the novel’s opening as he fantasizes about his next encounter with the merchant’s daughter with whom he spoke briefly the previous year. He is young and alone, and wishes heartily for true companionship, which he hopes to find with the beautiful girl with the raven hair. However, in recounting her reaction to his literacy, she seems limited in her ability to appreciate his desire for something more in life, a passion that is recognized and esteemed by Fatima, whom he meets in the oasis as he attempts to discover his Personal Legend. Her love is of a different variety, one that encourages him to soar to new heights rather than asks him to clip his wings to stay with her. Fatima expresses her love as a wish to be with Santiago once he has found himself and is...
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