What is the theme or lesson of Coelho's The Alchemist, and how does the jacket symbolize that theme?

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Depending upon whom you talk to or the sites you visit, there are many themes that come to mind for Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. Part of the appeal of the story is that it speaks in so many ways to so many people. However, the one theme that seems to strike a chore more than any other is "follow your dreams." The story starts with Santiago's dream of treasure, and while he anticipates that it is financial treasure, it ends up being that and so much more. Ironically, the robber at the end has a dream as well, but he dismisses it. In doing so, his dream fulfills Santiago's original dream of wealth—but Santiago has already amassed more wealth than he ever thought possible in finding knowledge, in learning of the world and finding his place in it, and discovering love. The robber's "discarded" dream sends Santiago home to the realization of his own.

Whoever you are, or whatever is it that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the...

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