By Crystal Kimama                                                                                                              & Hannah Taylor

The Crystal Shop & The Crystal Merchant

The crystal merchant becomes a good friend of Santiago during his 11 months and 9 days in Tangier. He teaches both Santiago and the reader about many important life lessons and about what happens when a Personal Legend is not fulfilled. The merchant understands that he's being foolish by not going to Mecca and fulfilling his Personal Legend but he still refuses to go, even after he has enough money and is shown the positives of taking risks. In this story, the crystal merchant represents what happens to those who don't fulfill their Personal Legends. The crystal shop on the other hand, may represent how money doesn't always make one happy. Even after Santiago had become successful, he still didn't feel like his dream had been fulfilled. And even after Santiago left, it seemed that the merchant had fooled himself into thinking he's happy because of his success.

The interactions between the merchant and Santiago take place in Tangier, a port city on the coast of Morocco.

Real-Life Connections

To many, crystal is the gem that represents power, energy and clarity. In the bible, it is said that portions of New Jerusalem will be made up entirely of crystal. Crystal is said to have magical healing abilities as well as being able to bring about a positive transformation in life experience. This does so for Santiago because it encourages him to continue on on his Personal Legend. In a way they are kind of like a good luck charm for him.

How The Merchant Adds To The Story

The use of the crystal merchant and the crystal shop is important to the story because it gives us more insight of what happens when a Personal Legend is not fulfilled. This part of the story has a bit of foreshadowing as well, because later on, the Alchemist goes on to explain what would happen if Santiago didn't follow his Personal Legend. We can make a lot of connections between the merchants life and feelings, and what the alchemist describes what happens to those who don't follow their Personal Legends.

The Crystal Merchant in The Alchemist

Crystal is usually a reflective material, and in the book, it allows Santiago to see what might lie ahead of him. Also, when looking through crystal, the image on the other side is distorted, so this would suggest that Santiago would have to decide with his heart. "All that glitters is not gold." Like mentioned earlier, Crystal is known for being very hard to make and only the rich could afford it. But just because it makes a person rich, doesn't mean it makes them happy. The crystal merchant and the crystal shop played a big part in Santiago's journey and teaches us a lot more about Personal Legends.

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