In The Alchemist, when Santiago is robbed in Tangiers, he has to take a menial job with the crystal merchant. There, Santiago learns many lessons on everything from the art of business to the art...

In The Alchemist, when Santiago is robbed in Tangiers, he has to take a menial job with the crystal merchant. There, Santiago learns many lessons on everything from the art of business to the art of patience. This book can be viewed as a story of self-education and soul-searching. Explain. Also, what are the lessons he learned? Which lessons are crucial to the pursuit of his personal legend? ( from page 1 to page 87)

Asked on by sjacob4

1 Answer | Add Yours

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Through Santiago's experience in Tangier, the power of self-education and soul searching becomes essential to the narrative.  One example of this would be the hardship that Santiago experiences in Tangier.  He is cut adrift when he arrives in Tangier.  He doesn't speak the language and finds himself robbed of the only money he has.  It is at this point that he contemplates going back home and surrendering his hope to find his Personal Legend.  However, he embraces the idea of self-education, learning from the most elemental rungs of society in order to advance.  His own soul searching is evident in how he works for mere subsistence and does not surrender the dream for his Personal Legend. On basic needs levels and psychological ones (in terms of hearing how the crystal merchant gave up on his dreams for material wealth), Santiago recognizes that part of the journey towards his Personal Legend involves self-education and soul-searching.  When he has overcome the difficulties in Tangier, it becomes clear that Santiago understands the educational role of struggle and soul-searching in the pursuit of his Personal Legend:  "Tangier was no longer a strange city, and he felt that, just as he had conquered this place, he could conquer the world.” This commitment forged through difficulty and hardship is a crucial lesson towards the pursuit of Santiago's Personal Legend.

At the same time, education looks different for Santiago.  He is a "boy" of the world, capable of learning different lessons from different sources.  There is not one direct way of gaining knowledge.  Santiago understands that his entire narrative is predicated upon the idea of gaining what he can from different sources.  In encountering the Englishman, it is clear that "the boy" learns much from divergent paths: "His way isn’t the same as mine, nor mine as his."  Despite the differences in approach, Santiago recognizes that he can learn.  This becomes one of the critical lessons that Santiago learns in pursuit of his Personal Legend. In being a lifelong learner and one who is receptive to the idea of education, Santiago understands that education is not formal and is not scripted.  It is ongoing and to be in tune with the path towards his Personal Legend, it is evident that Santiago has to be connected to the idea that education is everywhere for him.  There are lessons to be learned in all aspects of being in the world.  This receptiveness towards the lifelong pursuit of knowledge and understanding in all of its forms is a crucial lesson that he learns on his voyage towards his Personal Legend.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,913 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question