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''The Alchemist'' by P. Coehlo has been read at various levels and it is essentially also a 'quest novel', where the hero/protagonist, Santiago, is on a dual quest-- an 'outer' one and an 'inner' one.
According to his 'personal legend' which, according to the story, all people have , Santiago is seeking his own, i.e. seeking a trasure that is supposedly 'his' and waiting for him at the Pyramids in Egypt, across the deserts and after a long and hard journey. Yet, also at the same time, Santiago is on a spiritual/mystic quest, rather like the old Grail heroes of medieval mystical literature, and his guide/preceptor on this quest is the mysterious Alchemist, a highly developed spiritual person. On his search for the outer traesure, ultimately Santiago ends up finding a much richer, much greater inner treasure of infinite dimensions, and also finds a love taht is all encompassing.
In the beginning of the novel, when Santiago is still at home and meets the wandering priest, he is told that when one really badly wants something, then the 'whole universe' helps, by 'conspiring' to achieve that goal, that aim, that personal legend. Thus it is with Santiago too, as he is very keen indeed to seek out his treasure and his keenness wakes up the universal and elemental forces in his favour. The Alchemist and Fatima, the Bedouin girl Santiago comes to love, also help us understand this-- some things in life, existence are 'Maktub' i.e. 'written -- but in most cases, it is we, ourselves who dictate the course of this writing or even change it, with the power of our will; by 'following our dream' as its subtitle reveals, too.
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