In the opening chapter of the book, we are introduced to Santiago, a young shepherd in the regions of Andalusia, Spain. As a boy Santiago was sent to school by his parents as they thought an education would give him a better life. However, against his father's wishes, he decided to become a shepherd. This was because he had a dream to travel and thought that becoming a shepherd was a perfect opportunity to do this. At this point we see that Santiago has a lot of determination but is also quite immature as he did not take on board his father's opinion.
On his travels Santiago falls in love with a girl whom he met when selling wool to her father. He reads to her and she is impressed but bewildered by a shepherd that can read and write. Throughout the first chapter he continuously talks about the girl and is looking forward to returning to the village to meet her again. This shows a caring side to Santiago and the innocence of first love.
One night Santiago has a dream about finding treasure in the pyramids of Egypt, but before he finds out where the treasure is buried he wakes up. Santiago becomes perturbed about this dream as he has had the dream twice before and it always occurred at the same place, in the grounds of an old ruined church. Santiago wonders if the dream is telling him to go and fulfill his destiny. This is probably the most important part of the novel, as the rest of the book is based on the happenings on his trip. This part shows Santiago's vivid imagination and his strong will.
As Santiago is on his way to go and see the girl, he goes through the small village of Tarifa and remembers that there is a woman there that can read and interpret dreams. Santiago goes to see her and tells her about his dream. She takes no payment but insists that when he finds the treasure he must give her one tenth of it. Santiago agrees. However, he still was not convinced that he should look for the treasure. This shows Santiago's naivety by trusting an old gypsy. Santiago then meets an old man who claims to be a king and this king seems to be able to read people. The king then teaches Santiago about the omens and helps him on his way to Egypt. Santiago is given by the king two very special stones called Urim and Thummium and can help him read omens. He then persuades Santiago to fulfill his destiny and go to the Pyramids. Santiagos intuition makes him trust this man and he forgets all about the reason for him being in Tarif --to see the daughter of the wool merchant-- and decides to follow his destiny. This is also one of the main turning points as this is when Santiago leaves for the Egypt to seek for his treasure.
The journey from Spain to Egypt is long and Santiago's first stop upon arrival is Africa. A young boy, about the same age as Santiago, offers to be his guide and take him to Egypt. Santiago is delighted and can't believe his luck to find someone so quickly who wishes to help him, and he lets the boy keep all of his money. The boy quickly disappears into a crowd, not to be seen again. Santiago was now left in a foreign country with no money for food or shelter. This is the second time when we witness Santiago's naivety where he trusted the first person he met.
Santiago had to stay in Africa since he did not have any money in order to go back. Santiago manages to get a job in a crystal shop. The shop is very dirty and the owner had almost given up hope of selling all his merchandise but Santiago turned it around by using several promoting techniques. Santiago's efforts were fruitful. The shop became very busy and it made the crystal merchant satisfied. While Santiago was working there he realized that for most of the time he was speaking Spanish and the merchant Arabic, but somehow they understood each other. As a result he came up with a theory that there must be a language that does not depend on words. This shows how Santiago is maturing and absorbing information.
Santiago was working in the...
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