Symbolism In The Alchemist

The Crystal Merchant
By Katie Derouin and Brandi Marlett

- The Crystal merchant symbolizes  giving up on a dream and what happens when you refuse the call. The crystal merchant always dreamed of traveling to Mecca, to fulfill his life long goal. But he's afraid of the experience not living up to his standards, so instead of taking a risk he stays at home hoping one day he can work up the courage to travel to Mecca, the land of the gods.

Crystal Merchant's quotes

" Well why don't you go to Mecca now?" asked the boy. "Because it's the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That's what helps me face these days that are all the same, these mute crystals on the shelves, and lunch and dinner at that horrible cafe. I'm afraid that if my dream is realized, I'll have no reason to go on living." - Crystal Merchant (55)

"...But I'm afraid that it would all be a disappointment, so I prefer just to dream about it."- Crystal Merchant (55)

"I was thinking about how much time I had wasted in the same place, while my friends had moved on, and either went bankrupt or did better than they had before. It made me very depressed. Now , I can see that it hasn't been too bad. The shop is exactly the size I always wanted it to be. I don't want to change anything, because I don't know how to deal with change. I'm used to  the way I am." -Crystal Merchant (58)

Lion King Comparison

In the lion king, Simba has a moment where he refuses the call. After a tragic accident in which his father Mufasa dies, Simba is afraid of  telling his mother and community about the accident, he has a falling out and temporarily loses hope to peruse his dream. Similarly the Crystal merchant was once a dreamer,  he wanted to travel to Mecca to fulfill his journey. But he lived in fear of reaching his goal. Just as Simba lived in fear of coming back to is kingdom to claim the throne. The moral of both Simba's story and the Merchants story is; living in fear of the unknown stops you from perusing your dreams.

How the merchant enhances the story!

The merchant enhances the story by showing us two paths that can be taken on ones personal journey. Santiago choses to pursue his personal journey where as the Crystal merchant is too scared to complete his journey. Santiago saw the merchant that by ignoring his greater dreams , he also reduces his perspective which ends up affecting the his business.  Santiago compares his experience with the crystal merchant to his own experience with his sheep. Even though Santiago learned some facts from his sheep, he could have never learned Arabic from them. Santiago then realizes that, sometimes, you need to leave your comfortable lifestyle in order to grow. The Crystal Merchant helps Santiago realize this and knowing this help Santiago through his journey.

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2 years ago