The Love of a Woman in Paulo Coelho’s Novel "The Alchemist" Essay

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In Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist the story of the shepherd boy Santiago and his journey to fulfill his Personal Legend unfolds from beginning to end. On his journey Santiago meets several significant male characters that play very important roles in the development of his character, his journey, and his story. There are only a few female characters in The Alchemist, as men dominate the story; however, one of these female characters also plays a very significant role in Santiago’s story. Santiago falls in love with Fatima and this forever changes both of their lives. On the surface, the development of Fatima’s character seems to come from and speak for a male chauvinistic point of view and perspective. Not much is revealed about Fatima…show more content…
This novel is about the journey of life and all the amazing gifts, lessons, and people that can be found on this journey; love being one of the most important and valuable treasures that can be found. Fatima’s willingness and eagerness to let Santiago go is not a sign of weakness, but a powerful expression of love and sacrifice. Fatima’s character is not focused upon long in The Alchemist, but with the use of her short appearance the narrative is able to make a statement about the complex nature of women; a nature that is powerful yet subtle, strong yet soft, and fierce yet comforting.
Santiago and Fatima experience love at first sight. Their first meeting is full of powerful and intense motions as:
At that moment, it seemed to him [Santiago] that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him. When he looked into her dark eyes…he learned the most important part of language that all the world spoke-the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their hearts. It was love…She smiled, and that was certainly an omen-the omen he had been awaiting, without even knowing he was, for all his life…What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life…He was more certain of it than of anything in the world…Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning. (92-93)
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