The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, consists of numerous pieces of advice dealing with universal wisdom. In this novel, Santiago, a shepherd boy, learns and matures on the journey to find his Personal Legend, his life’s ultimate accomplishment. He faces many difficult decisions along the way but once he begins to listen to his heart he found love, treasure, and the ability to turn into wind. Like Santiago, a reader can grow to feel more knowledgeable from the words of Coelho because his advice can be accepted and appreciated by all people.
The Alchemist expresses beliefs that easily relate to people around the world since at one point or another we all suffer from confusion about our hearts. Coelho beautifully constructed a novel that contains remarkable truths, such as the secrets to suffering, love, and the heart. Everyone struggles with the idea of suffering, most frighten themselves until they begin to fear taking risks altogether. When Santiago debates with himself about whether he wants to pursue his Personal Legend, because he feared losing Fatima, the Alchemist explains to him that his heart needs to understand “that the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself.
And that no heart had suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and eternity” (130). Santiago’s journey surely did not bring upon suffering to him; he learned more about alchemy, found his treasure, and still felt love from Fatima. Ultimately following his dreams brought him closer to God; he literally had an “encounter” with Him when he became the wind. I felt the same as Santiago two years ago before I went to teach a vacation bible school on my mission trip to Canada, I was terrified because I had never done anything comparable to it and I did not know what to expect.
I always dreamed of sharing my faith with others and when I went on that mission trip I legitimately felt like I was exactly where I should be. I now go on the trip up north for that vacation bible school every summer, every time I feel more blessed and closer to God. Fear haunts everyone, but when we learn to take risks and push the thought of suffering aside we will truly be rewarded. Love can be felt without understanding. During Santiago’s last talk with Fatima before he left on his journey, he learned that “one is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving” (122).
Santiago, only a dreamer, and Fatima, only a desert girl, somehow share a large attraction towards each other after only one short conversation. The two barely know each other, yet their hearts tell them to be together, for no specific reasons. In The Princess Bride, by William Goldman, Buttercup and Westley share the same love for each other as Santiago and Fatima. While they spent time apart when the Dread Pirate Roberts captured Westley, their love never strained. Though Buttercup could have been with a prince, Prince Humperdinck, her only feelings of love belonged to a farm boy, Westley.
I feel the same strong passion for my boyfriend, Austin, as Fatima and Buttercup did for Santiago and Westley. I think of Austin as the most perfect guy on earth and I used to wonder why I felt this way, his qualities amaze me; he is smart, athletic, funny, thoughtful, honest, and caring but still not necessarily the smartest, most athletic, or funniest compared to some. After I thought about it I realized that even though he may not be perfect, especially considering that no one is, he certainly is perfect for me and there does not need to be a specific reason why.
In many cases there seem to be no real reason for love nor is one needed, like Coehlo expressed. The heart constantly gives incredible advice to those who listen to it. The Alchemist told Santiago that he will “never be able to escape his heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say” (129). After Santiago met Fatima his heart still told him to go find his treasure; following his Personal Legend turned out to be a wonderful choice. He gained wisdom, treasure, and did not lose Fatima when he left because he listened to his heart.
Recently my heart brought me to notice that I should spend more time with my grandma. I am so glad that I listened and watched the Seahawks game with her this past weekend since I found out right afterwards that she might only be left with a few weeks to live because the severity of her cancer. I am very close to my grandma so I was amazed that my heart felt the need to see her at this specific time. The heart gives such knowledge and we should never want to escape its advice.
Paulo Coelho shows his thoughtfulness from producing such a brilliant novel, The Alchemist. Many ideas from the book are universal and easily comparable to anyones life, such as the similarities in The Alchemist or The Princess Bride or the life of a common day teenager, like myself. The wisdom I gained from this novel, especially involving suffering, love, and the heart, really show that when people open their eyes and take things in that we can learn so much and altogether become better people.