The Alchemist (Coelho)

Why can we describe the Englishman as a foil character?

A foil character is one who contrasts the main character.

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Like Santiago, the Englishman is on a quest. The two are similar, and yet, they are very different.Thus, the Englishman is a foil for the character of Santiago. Santiago wishes to talk to the alchemist because he searches for his personal legend. The Englishman, however, wishes to learn from the alchemist to satisfy his own greed...... for money. The Englishman believes that the answers to all of his questions can be found in books, whereas, Santiago looks for omens in the desert. The Englishman does not follow his heart...... Santiago listens to his own and eventually becomes one with the universe. 

Source(s)

The Alchemist