The Alchemist was written by Paul Coelho, and there were many themes embedded within its text. The two main themes that stand out throughout the novel are forces of nature and emotions. More specifically, the main theme is how nature as well as human emotions plays important roles during Santiago’s journey. Some of the featured emotions are fear, hope, desire, and love. Also, some of the forces of nature involved are the sun, wind, the desert, and God. During Santiago’s journey to find his own Personal Legend, all of these things work together in order to aid him on his important journey.
One emotion affecting Santiago on his journey is fear. Quoting the novel, literary critic Anna Hassapi brings out “fear of failure seems to be the greatest obstacle to happiness. As the old crystal-seller tragically confesses: “I am afraid that great disappointment awaits me, and so I prefer to dream”. ” This passage illustrates the impact that fear can have on one’s journey. When it comes to reaching success on a mission or quest, there is either success or failure. In the novel, Coelho brings out that the fear of failure can be very strong in some, causing them to give up and just “prefer to dream” (Coelho).
On his journey, Santiago learns to embrace his fears, and he doesn’t allow them to prevent him from reaching his goals. This is a key lesson for him to learn. As Coelho himself mentions in the novel, “We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property”. This goes along with the fear that Santiago would have if someone were to come along and take his sheep away. This constant fear needs to be overcome by Santiago if he is ever going to complete his mission. Another emotion affecting Santiago on his quest is love.
Love particularly comes into play with Santiago’s feelings towards Fatima. At one point, Santiago even considers marrying her and living his life out with her on the beach, but the alchemist advises him that this would forever hinder his quest for his Personal Legend. However, Santiago initially disagrees with this advice, for he agrees with the statement of a literary analyst that “love is the core of existence and creation” (Hassapi). Hassapi expands upon this thought by writing “as Coelho explains, when we love, we always try to improve ourselves, and that’s when everything is possible. In the end, Santiago decides to heed the counsel from the wise Alchemist, and he does not let love stop him from seeking out his Personal Legend. This further proves the fact that “love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny” (Coelho). Fear once again factors into Santiago’s journey, and just like in the previous paragraph, he learns yet another lesson from the Alchemist. They are sitting out together, and Santiago says “My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy confides to the alchemist one night as they look up at a moonless night. Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself” said the alchemist” (Coelho). Here, the Alchemist does not want Santiago to become too discouraged by the fear within his heart, for he is fully aware that “contrary to the heart…the mind is also rational and worldly which can evoke fear in us” (Coelho). Mental anguish about the things to come had the potential to seriously hinder Santiago’s quest, but in part to the advice and counsel given to him by the alchemist, he is able to persevere on his journey.
In addition to human emotions like fear and love, natural forces also play a role during Santiago’s journey. In a way, Santiago’s journey would be impossible without these forces. They help provide him with courage and inspiration along his journey, and Hassapi mentions that “those who do not have the courage to follow their “Personal Myth”, are doomed to a life of emptiness, misery, and unfulfillment”. Sometimes, when one is on a mission, help can come from natural sources and elements, which is the case on Santiago’s journey.
One force of nature present throughout Santiago’s quest is the desert. It was the desert that brought Santiago to Fatima, and the dryness of the desert symbolizes with the dryness left inside Santiago’s heart when he realizes that he must leave her behind in order to fully pursue his Personal Legend. After experiencing this heartbreak when the alchemist gave him this advice, Santiago finally came to appreciate that “the desert takes our dreams away from us, and they don’t always return. We know that, and we are used to it.
Those who don’t return become a part of the clouds, a part of the animals that hide in the ravines and of the water that comes from the earth. They become part of everything… They become the soul of the world. ” (Coelho) The harshness of the desert, as well as the events that took place there, really help out Santiago on his journey. He is able to learn lessons through this force of nature that are vital to the success of his quest. God is also a strong natural force acting in Santiago’s journey.
In the words of one Alchemist analyst, “the author believes that each one of us has a dream given to us by God and He gives us clues times again and again so that we recognize those clues( ‘omens’ as he calls them) and follow these dreams with great zeal” (WordPress). So throughout Santiago’s quest to find his Personal Legend, God constantly provides him with signs and clues in order to indicate to him what he needs to do to be successful. The quote found in WordPress is backed up when Coelho writes, “each one of us has a destiny.
To discover these destinies and then follow them is the purpose of our lives”. Here, Coelho suggests that God plants the desire to achieve a certain dream within everyone. God wants everyone to be successful in finding their own personal Legends, and Coelho makes this idea hold true in the case of Santiago. Throughout his journey, Santiago is provided with many signs and clues from God in order to help guide and direct him. To conclude, during Santiago’s quest to find his Personal Legend, emotions as well as natural forces play an important role in helping him to find success.
Some of the emotions highlighted the most during his journey are love and fear. Both of these are feelings that have the potential to hold him back, but he is able to overcome them thanks to the advice from the alchemist. Also, the desert is a force of nature that aids Santiago on his quest. The harsh and dry elements of a desert show Santiago how sometimes pursuing one’s dream can lead to mental, emotional, and physical dryness. Finally, God is a key factor that constantly helps Santiago to achieve success on his vital journey to find his Personal Legend.