The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho opens with Santiago thinking about his sheep. What does he observe about their existence? How might the sheep symbolize the way people lead their lives?

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Sheep are usually thought of as mindless followers. They exist solely to produce wool and not much else. Sheep are also dependent on a shepherd to keep them together as a flock and to lead them to food and water sources. Santiago provides further insight into sheep in the following passage:

"Yes, their days were all the same, with the seemingly endless hours between sunrise and dusk . . . They were content with just food and water, and, in exchange, they generously gave of their wool, their company, and--once in a while--their meat" (7).

This description of the daily life of sheep can be linked to the way many people lead their lives. Humans get...

(The entire section contains 335 words.)

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