The Alchemist novel is one of the most famous books by Paulo Coelho and the masterpiece of classical literature. However, many readers do not understand the theme and message of the story of the novel’s main character Santiago and perceive it only as a story about a brave boy’s adventures. Nevertheless, the main theme of the Alchemist by Coelho is the need and ability to listen to one’s own heart and the world around you and follow one’s dream, which reveals in the multiple symbols of the book.
The main theme of the novel, which is the need to listen to your heart and follow the dream, is revealed throughout the story. Santiago, an ordinary boy from a Spanish village, sees a dream about the pyramids under which the treasure is hidden and starts a journey to find despite the small probability of success (Coelho 1, 17). Although Santiago has many doubts and reasons to stay home, he listens to his heart and takes a long time to decide and find the courage to a long trip. Later, Santiago again trusts his heart or intuition, because even after the first failure, he does not return home and goes in search of the treasure with the Englishman, and then the Alchemist.
During the journey with the Alchemist, Santiago’s ability to trust his own feelings grows as he learns to anticipate danger and chooses the right path. One of the significant symbolic moments is the situation when Santiago saw the battle of two hawks and, feeling danger, was not afraid to report the threat of an army attack to the inhabitants of the oasis (Coelho 42-48). This situation demonstrates the courage of Santiago, the turning point of his growing up and a new level of understanding of his feelings. Thus, Santiago found a treasure, a beloved girl, and himself because he believed in his heart and followed his dream, instead of taking the easier path.
Moreover, an important symbol and theme is also unity with nature, which helped Santiago understand his true self. In this theme, the central image is the Soul of the World, which is a reflection of all nature and God who created it. For this reason, the Alchemist tells Santiago that he always knew the Language of the World when the boy thanks him for his teaching (Coelho 81). In other words, this episode demonstrates that Santiago learned to be a part of nature, which helped him to better understand himself and the world around him but did not gain knowledge about its use as a man standing above her. Thus, this topic makes it possible to better understand the novel’s main theme about man’s search for the main treasure of himself through the cognition of nature and listening to his own heart.
In conclusion, the central theme of the Alchemist by Coelho is Santiago’s understanding of himself, listening to his heart and following his dreams. Many symbols, such as dreams, visions, the forces of nature, reveal the meaning of this topic every time when Santiago chooses to listen to his heart in moments of doubt, which leads him to success. Thus, the journey of the protagonist symbolizes not only the search for a treasure chest but his search for his own self through connections with his feelings and nature.
Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. Translated by Alan R. Clarke, HarperCollins, 1992. Web.