Fifth Business & The Alchemist

Santiago & Dunstan's Road Rocks

Thesis: Although Dunstan and Santiago differ in that Dunstan is in search of relieving his guilt and Santiago is in search of a greater purpose, it is through their interpretation of Fate and Omen's that their similarities are revealed.


Santiago and Dunstan share their desire to decode life's paradox, which they do through the encountering of women and the conclusion that one may become anything they want, if the desire to become it is genuine.

  1. “…But she was graceful, she had a charming voice, and gave evidence of a keen intelligence held in check” (Davies, 194).
  2. “Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. Something that exerted the same force whenever two eyes met, as had theirs here at the well […] Maktub thought the boy” (Coelho, 93).

Carl jung theories: archetypes

These women offer a sense of security and rationality to Santiago and Dunstan; it is through their ability to reason that the protagonists come to realize who they truly desire to be. They emulate Jung’s archetype of the Platonic Ideal, and what it truly means to be rational. They portray the better half of the men.


Dunstan and Santiago are introduced to the broader version of the world. The mentors introduce the idea that in life, one may either choose to sit around and accept what the universe has to offer, or take control of it.

  1. “‘Do you know who I think you are, Ramsay? I think you are Fifth Business…he is the odd man out, the person who has no opposite of the other sex’” (Davies, 214).
  2. “‘It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie’” (Coelho, 18).


Furthermore, Santiago and Dunstan's overall perception of the world is shaped through the hardships they encompass on their journey. The way the men choose to interpret the signs placed along the way is completely subjective, however, the consequences will lie in their decision making process.

  1. “Because somebody at Le grand Cirque forain de St. Vite had stolen my pocket-book, and everything pointed to Paul” (Davies, 136).
  2. “But the boy never took his eye off his new friend. After all, he had all his money…the boy wanted to believe that his friend had simply become separated from him by accident” (Coelho, 37-38).
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omen's cont'd

Dunstan and Santiago carry the stones in their life as a symbol of direction, as a reminder that they have a point to reach in their life. Each man places significance on the stones as a means of something to hold on to.

  1. “‘Would this jog your memory?’ I asked handing him my old paperweight. ‘It is the stone you put in the snowball you threw at Mrs. Dempster, I’ve kept it because I couldn’t part with it’” (Davies, 249-250).
  2. “They’re called Urim and Thummim, and they can help you to read omens’…‘It’s in the Bible. The same book that taught me about Urim and Thummim. These stones were the only form of divination permitted by God (Coelho, 40,69).

Something to Think About

  1. What do you think about the concept of Maktub? Do you believe that everything that occurs in our life is meant to be?
  2. Think about all the times you have done something through dishonest means, only to acquire an honest end. Is it worth it? (Take cheating on a test as an example)

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The Alchemist and Fifth Business emulate a romance story, as Dunstan is able to self-actualize himself and Santiago discovers that the treasure he was in search for, lies in his heart