in the book
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The Alchemist is a typical tale involving a quest. The fact that Santiago begins and ends at the church is significant. Santiago is a searcher, seeker for the truth. he leaves the abandoned church to find his "treasure." he goes through his entire journey only to return to where he began, and now he finds his treasure there. Su the church can be viewed as a physical representation of finding ourselves or our faith, which is always an inward journey not outward. The church is symbolic in the traditional sense of a place where people can find themselves, but this church has been abandoned, signifying that Santiago must find his own way yo faith or "treasure."