Study Guide

The Alchemist Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

By Paulo Coelho

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

You can't get much more dreamy than Santiago—except maybe for the Englishman. In fact, the whole of The Alchemist is pretty much dedicated, page by page, to showing how the characters can achieve their future goals. You can barely read a paragraph without a mention of a dream—a literal, sleeping dream of some grand plan that seems too good to be true. Coelho is trying to lay out a philosophy for life that encourages everyone to follow their dreams, believe in their hopes, and count on the universe to work towards helping them achieve their goals. (But if you ask Shmoop, you should still have a backup plan.)

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. Why do you think that Santiago was "chosen" to have the dream about the treasure? Do you think the person who dreamed of the sycamore in Egypt was also "chosen" to find the treasure and just ignored the call?
  2. Why does the crystal merchant prefer to dream about Mecca rather than actually going there?
  3. Why does the alchemist say that following a dream makes a heart suffer?
  4. What do you think Fatima's hopes and dreams are?

Chew on This

There are two kinds of people in The Alchemist: those who follow their dreams and those who ignore them.

The Alchemist shows that the universe helps everyone who has a dream. If the universe isn't helping you, you're not dreaming hard enough.