the message you think the author is sending and
consider your personal world as well as the society and world you believe you live in.
I think that The Alchemist is speaking on two levels. There actually used to be people who spent their lives searching for a way to turn common metals into gold. Alchemy received a great deal of attention for many, many years, however, this book is all about symbolism. There is a much deeper meaning to the idea of changing something common into gold versus finding wealth in things that do not have "worldly value." What is the old saying? "All that glitters is not gold."
On deeper level, I feel that Coelho may well have been speaking to that which is "treasure" for one is not necessarily "treasure" for another. After all of his travels, when Santiago meets Fatima, he instantly falls in love with her. He realizes that he could die at that moment, a happy man. He has learned that wealth does not need to be monetary, but that love is more valuable than anything else on earth.
The notion that we can all turn things to gold is an inspiring one. Some people find themselves satisfied with the world and life, and money has nothing to do with it. Finding a situation that can be fixed and doing so is a way of changing something to gold. Attitude can transform situations and people from something or someone "common," to something magical and golden. If we can create our own happiness, I believe we can turn things into some form of "gold."
That depends on your definition of "lead" and "gold." Perhaps not in the literal sense, but it's not my contention that that is what the author is suggesting.
In my view, the lead in The Alchemist refers to the things in our lives that are not wholly formed, i.e., realized. The question is whether or not we recognize the lead as it manifests itself in our lives. Once we're able to identify it, the next question is how to turn it into "gold." I would argue that it's that "process" which is what makes our lives worth living; our goals worth pursuing.
cannot everybody turn lead into gold?