Who is Santiago in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist?   

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Santiago is the protagonist of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, though he is referred to as such only once in the text. He is a Spanish shepherd boy who goes on a quest to find treasure near the Egyptian pyramids. He undergoes great personal transformation as he makes his journey, meeting strange characters who help or distract him along the way.

Interestingly, throughout the majority of the narrative, Coelho calls him "the boy," referring to his proper name, Santiago, only once. As mentioned in the previous answer, this could fit in with the novel's status as a coming-of-age narrative, showing how "the boy" has not yet come into his own personhood. However, it is strange how Santiago is never called so again, even after he achieves his maturity.

Another reason for this authorial choice could be that it is Coelho's way of making Santiago's story seem more universal. Santiago is not merely an individual; he is an avatar for all people who strive to follow their dreams.

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"The boy's name was Santiago" (3).

Santiago is the name of the boy who is Coelho's protagonist in The Alchemist. Coelho only mentions the name of the boy once at the beginning of the novel. It is a wonder that Coelho doesn't use Santiago's name more often throughout the book because he is just "the boy" from that point forward. Since The Alchemist is a bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story, it is possible that Coelho calls his protagonist "the boy" because he has not matured yet. However, the name "Santiago" is never used again after the first page--not even in the epilogue. Whatever the case, the boy journeys in search of treasure from Spain, across the sands of Africa, to the Egyptian pyramids, and then finds himself back in Spain at the dilapidated church where he began. Along the way, Santiago discovers everything that is involved with achieving his Personal Legend and realizing his dreams.

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