Allegorically this sums up the dilemma of the socialist People in the modern world,
providing "work" for society "as before," but as "a sham,"
i.e., with no loyalty and no hope of ever attaining wealth through it. Wealth/hope
comes from another source entirely. As always, the word "treasure" here
carries a double meaning of character, of inner worth, and we can read this as
saying that the People cling ever more tenaciously to the certainty of their independent
worth. The sentence "the treasure was real," though couched in the voice
of Nostromo's mental state, is actually a statement of fact by the narrator, reinforcing
the novel's message that inner worth is the true treasure of mankind.