Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fate or Free Will?

At the end of Part 1 after Santiago meets the crystal merchant, his perspective returns to a more fatalistic view. His mood had been more optimistic when he looked for the omens to confirm his choices and coax him into believing that his life-altering decisions had not been in vain. Initially, he had desired to work for the crystal merchant to get money so he could make it to the pyramids because the money he received from the sale of his sheep was stolen. However, when the crystal merchant tells Santiago that he could work for a lifetime and still never make enough money to visit the pyramids, Santiago experiences a "moment of silence so profound that it seem[s] the city [is] asleep." It seems as if his story has come full circle when he exclaims that he "needs money to buy some sheep." Santiago must have felt like Sisyphus as he rolled the boulder up the hill only to witness it return to the bottom every time. The crystal merchant also feels stuck in a relentless cycle and fears that his life course is set because "he ha[s] been in the same place for 30 years" as the result of choices he made as a young man. Perhaps, the crystal merchant is another omen for Santiago or a guide for his journey.

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