Milkweed is a strange old man who claims to be the king of Salem and helps convince Santiago to go on his journey to the pyramids with a few words of advice to the boy before he leaves. The boy, Santiago, then becomes an enthusiastic dream-seeker going after his personal legend, a dream that everyone has and is destined to follow. Along the way to achieve his personal legend he encounters many people who are similar and different; nevertheless, all help him on his journey. One of these many characters Santiago encounters along his journey is the Crystal
Merchant. Santiago works hard for the crystal merchant to, one day, earn the money back he is robbed of. He originally plans to buy more sheep since he is losing hope for his dream and hopes to go back to his peaceful shepherd life. The crystal merchant is quite different from Santiago: don’t much like change,’ he said, You and I arena like Hosannas, that rich merchant. If he makes a buying mistake, it doesn’t affect him much. But we two have to live with our mistakes”‘ (Cello 53).
Santiago asks the crystal merchant to buy a display ease to attract more customers since he believes in following omens and taking risks. Santiago is paid lucratively since the crystal merchant believes that Santiago is an omen himself. On the other hand, the crystal merchant is fearful to take chances and make mistakes. The crystal merchant is afraid that this choice can potentially become a blunder and eventually harm them. Thus, eventually, Santiago is able to persuade the crystal merchant to take chances and take risks; ultimately, they became extremely successful and prosperous.
Due to the fact that the author points out that the crystal merchant does not like change, the reader has an easier time recognizing that Santiago is a foil for the crystal merchant. As a result of this, the readers recognize that Santiago is the type of character who is willing to go after what he believes and not be afraid of its consequences. Furthermore, Santiago encounters another character along his journey to achieve his personal legend, the Englishman. Santiago and the Englishman are both ambitious to achieve their personal legends and goals.
Just like Santiago, the Englishman is going to the pyramids to go after his own dream and he also believes in following omens. Despite this fact, they also have many differences. The Englishman and Santiago acquire knowledge about the world in completely different ways: “Then one day the boy returned the book to the Englishman. ‘Did you learn anything? The Englishman asked… He took back his books and packed them away again in their bags. ‘Go back to watching the caravan,’ he said, ‘That didn’t teach me anything, titheWhen Santiago ND the Englishman were traveling through the desert with the caravan, the Englishman had spent most of the time learning by reading while Santiago was not able to concentrate at all on reading and learned about the desert and many other forces of nature through observing his surroundings. When Santiago tries to just learn though reading books and the Englishman attempts to just observe, it proves to be quite a challenge for both characters. From this, the author seems to tell the reader that the Englishman and Santiago are similar yet foils for each other.
From this the readers become aware that there are numerous amounts of people who also go after their personal legend; nevertheless, there are many different ways of learning which eventually leads people to their different paths to achieve their personal legend. Thus, while on his difficult journey towards his dreams, Santiago meets many wonderful people who may have been foils and from theses foils, the reader learns a great deal about the protagonist as well as the other character’s personal legends.