The Alchemist


Paulo Coelho

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Santiago’s sheep

Santiago is introduced in the novel as a shepherd, and although he sells his sheep to travel to the Pyramids of Egypt, he continues to reflect on his life as a shepherd throughout the…

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Urim and Thummim

Urim and Thummim are fortune-telling stones that Melchizedek gives to Santiago. The stones are black and white, with their colors representing “yes” and “no” answers to questions—so Melchizedek tells Santiago that he must only…

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Both the Englishman and the alchemist describe the practices of alchemy to Santiago, and in both cases, the specifics of alchemy symbolize larger life lessons. The Englishman explains that the pursuit of the Master…

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The Oasis (Al-Fayoum)

Al-Fayoum, the oasis, is considered neutral territory in the desert tribal wars. The elder chief emphasizes this tradition when Santiago confronts him with his vision of a future in which enemy warriors invade Al-Fayoum. There…

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The Emerald Tablet

The Emerald Tablet is one of alchemy’s historic trade secrets. It is a single emerald engraved with instructions for completing the Master Work of all alchemy: the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone and the…

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The Pyramids of Egypt

Throughout the novel, the Pyramids of Egypt are held in Santiago’s mind as his end goal, as they mark the location of his treasure. Therefore, the pyramids symbolize his Personal Legend. The pyramids are…

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The Abandoned Church

The abandoned church in Spain forms bookends for the novel—Santiago dreams of his treasure while sleeping in the collapsed church at the beginning of the book, and he returns to the church to find…

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