To what degree is Santiago’s father’s observation about travelers (page 9) true about Santiago?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Santiago's father makes a couple of observations about travelers.  One such observation is that the only people of their kind who travel are shepherds.  Another observation is that those who travel away from their worlds only come to miss them, resulting in painful nostalgia in that which was once had and now lost.  Finally, Santiago's father argues that travelers end up coming "in search of new things, but when they leave they are basically the same people they were when they arrived."  All of these are variations on the basic resistance that Santiago's father expresses about Santiago's desire to travel.

Certainly, Santiago believes that these observations will not be true in his case.  The one that Santiago believes to be true is that the life of the shepherd is synonymous with traveling.  Yet, from this point, he is steadfast in the pursuit of his dreams.  Santiago believes that his journey and his need to reconfigure reality as to what can be as opposed to what is will overcome such objections.  He believes that his quest will be fundamentally different than the objections his father raise. Santiago hopes that his father's observations about travelers and the larger issue of what it means to dream will not prove to be true about him.

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The Alchemist

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