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In the novel, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, the main character, Santiago, goes on a journey from his home in Spain to the pyramids in Egypt in order to find his treasure as well as accomplish his personal legend. On his adventure, he crosses many obstacles that have potential to end his journey, but Santiago continues to persevere. Santiago’s perseverance teaches the reader to follow his or her own dreams. The title The Alchemist is a metaphor for Santiago’s life. In medieval times, an alchemist was someone who could supposedly turn metals into gold. This idea relates to Santiago because he is trying to find meaning in his life, or turn it into gold. Paulo Coelho creates many obstacles and depicts the challenges that Santiago goes through along the journey. This novel seems to have taken place in the late 1800’s because there is no mention of cars or modern technology, and the characters are still riding in caravans and camels throughout the desert. Overall, The Alchemist uses symbolism and conflicts to portray the theme that achieving goals comes from within. Paulo Coelho uses symbolism to support the theme that one can discover dreams within themselves. In the novel, santiago goes on a journey based on a reoccurring dream telling him that his treasure will be at the pyramids. The symbol used in this book is the gold because that is what the alchemists are trying to find. However, the gold represents the “gold” that is in himself all along. “They were seeking the treasure of their Personal Legend, without wanting actually to live out the Personal Legend.”(129)This supports the symbol that the figurative “gold” was in himself the whole time, and how the treasure was achieving his personal legend. Although, in the end, Santiago does find a physical treasure, his journey and finding meaning in his life was the true value and “gold” of the story. Another symbol shown in the novel is the water. The water is symbolic of love. The water represents the love Fatima and Santiago grow for each other. In addition, water is supportive; it keeps people alive, like Fatima does for Santiago. Fatima is so supportive of Santiago and because they love each other, she wants the best for him and encourages him to complete his personal legend. In some ways love can be a found treasure. For Santiago, Fatima becomes a treasure as well as an obstacle. She reminds Santiago to keep striving to complete his personal legend. Fatima is also an obstacle because Santiago is hesitant about leaving her because he loves her, saying, “You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his personal legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t a true love…The love that speaks the language of the world.” This explains that love is an obstacle and a treasure, obstacle and treasure are both things that come from water. For some, water is hard to find creating an obstacle, but it is a treasure to everyone because it keeps the world alive. This idea supports the claim because in order to achieve his  goal, Santiago knows what he has to do, and that comes from within himself.At the beginning of the novel, Santiago’s father is disapproving of Santiago seeking his personal legend and trying to find treasure. Santiago  wanted to know the world. Santiago knew how to read and write and studied three different languages and his goals were to travel the world. Although, “His parents had wanted him to become a priest and thereby a source of pride for a simple farm family”(8). Santiago truly only wants to travel the world and find treasure and himself. Rather than being a priest or simple sheppard, Santiago aspires for much more in life. Towards the end of the novel, when Santiago makes it to the pyramids, two ruffians attack santiago, beating him savagely. The two men are looking for gold believing that santiago has more gold. One of the thieves says, “In my dream, there was a sycamore growing out of the ruins of the sacristy, and I was told that if I dug at the roots of the sycamore, I would find a hidden treasure”(163). However, this conflict only reinforces Santiago’s perseverance. Ironically, the thief describes Santiago’s home, so that is  when Santiago realizes that the treasure had been in himself all along. Coelho’s The Alchemist provides symbolism and conflicts to express the significance of santiago finding his treasure and personal legend.Both the gold and the water symbolize obstacles that santiago must overcome to find meaning in his life. These struggles relate to specific conflicts that attempted to change his path. Yet, santiago has the strength of character to persevere and it was crucial that he find his treasure.

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