How does Santiago’s father react when his son tells him that he wants to travel?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of Coelho's basic points in the novel is that individuals sometimes cannot achieve their dreams because people in their lives have not been a source of encouragement, but rather a source of dissuasion in such pursuits.  Santiago's father would be one such source.  His reaction to his son's aspirations is to dissuade them.  He does not encourage his son and rejects the son's desires to dream and to travel.  Santiago's father suggests that those who pursue dreams are never satisfied.  Santiago's father wishes that his son pursue studies in becoming a priest, a profession that would give the family both social status and financial security.  Santiago's father has become blind to the ability to dream, something that animates his son.  In his embrace of the material, Santiago's father's reaction reflects the praising of what is as opposed to a condition of what can be.  Santiago's father does not stand in his son's way when he sets out to find his Personal Legend, but his reaction is not one of full throated support and encouragement.  This becomes one of the many obstacles and conditions that Santiago must fight through in order to follow a path in which his dreams are cradled and not crushed.

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The Alchemist

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