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Why do you think the Crystal Merchant speaks this word when he and Santiago
part ways on page 61?
Pages 65-79
29. The Englishman, whom Santiago meets when he joins the caravan to the Egyptian
Pyramids, is-like Santiago-joining the caravan as part of a quest. What is the
Englishman searching for?
30. As the caravan travels, the Englishman spends his days poring over his books to
learn the secrets of alchemy; Santiago, meanwhile, throws his book away, instead
Page 5 of 7
opting to observe the desert and listen to the wind. The Englishman represents the
type of character who has book knowledge, but not practical knowledge. He tries
to learn alchemy through the intellect. The Englishman's character is a foil, or
contrasting character, to Santiago's character: Santiago has rejected the life of the
mind for a life of interaction and a journey of purpose. Action, personal
experience, and observation, Santiago believes, will bring him closer to
understanding the language without words...the universal language. Based on the
conversation between Santiago and the Englishman on page 79, does it appear
that the two have anything to learn from each other?.
Pages 80-104
31. As the caravan crosses the Sahara, Santiago and the Englishman each make an
effort to gain new insights by practicing the other's method of learning: Santiago
reads the Englishman's books about alchemy, and the Englishman spends several
days observing the caravan and the desert. When the Englishman asks Santiago
what the boy learned about alchemy from reading his books, Santiago sums up his
reading in a few short sentences (on page 83). What does he say he learned?
32. Santiago says he believes all the things he learned about alchemy are so simple
they could be written on the surface of an emerald. This description, of course,
depicts the Emerald Tablet the Englishman told Santiago about. The Englishman
is exasperated because he believes Santiago is simple-minded and has failed to
grasp the complexity of alchemy. Yet, the gypsy Santiago met in Tarifa told him,
'It's the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are
able to understand them" (15). Is the Englishman right, or is Santiago?
33. According to the Englishman, how were the alchemists he read about changed by
metals" (81)?
the years they spent "in their laboratories, observing the fire that purified the
34. Nearly every encounter Santiago has contains a lesson for him, if the boy is
observant enough to perceive it. Even the thief who stole his money in Tangier
had a lesson for Santiago: Read the conversation on pages 84-85 between
Santiago and his new friend, the camel driver. What life lesson is the camel driver
trying to impart to the boy? As you read about Santiago's response to the
appearance of the oasis on the horizon, do you see evidence that Santiago has
internalized the bit of wisdom offered by the camel driver?
35. How does Santiago feel when he meets Fatima? How does he know this is love?
36. Who finally shows Santiago how to find The Alchemist? Why is it significant that
it is this person, and not someone else, who points the way to The Alchemist, who
is the key to Santiago's search?
37. Why do you think The Alchemist gives the Englishman the response he does
when the Englishman tells him what he is seeking? What point do you think the
82

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