Coelho also suggests that those who do not have the
courage to follow their " Personal Myth",
are doomed to a life of emptiness, misery, and unfulfillment.
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 is where Coelho
really captures the drama of man, who sacrifices fulfillment
to conformity, who knows he can achieve greatness but
denies to do so, and ends up living a life of void.
It is interesting to see that Coelho presents the
person who denies to follow his dream as the person who denies to
see God, and that "every happy person carries God within
him". However, only few people choose to follow the road that
has been made for them, and find God while searching for their
destiny, and their mission on earth.
Consequently, is Coelho suggesting that the alchemists
found God while searching for the elixir of life and the
philosopher's stone? What is certain is that the symbolism of the
text is a parallel to the symbolism and the symbolic language of
alchemism, and similarly the symbolism of dreams is presented as
" God's language".
It is also symbolic that Santiago finds his soul-mate,
and the secrets of wisdom in the wilderness of the desert. The
"wilderness" is a symbol that has been used by many great
writers e.g.. Austen in "Mansfield Park", and Shakespeare
in "King Lear". In the desert, Santiago meets his
"twin-soul" and discovers that love is the core of
existence and creation. As Coelho explains, when we love, we always
try to improve ourselves, and that's when everything is possible.
The subject of love inspires a beautiful lyricism in Coelho's
writing: " I love you because the whole universe conspired for
me to come close to you."
"The Alchemist" is a novel that may appeal to
everybody, because we can all identify with Santiago: all of us have
dreams, and are dying for somebody to tell us that they may come
true. The novel skillfully combines words of wisdom, philosophy, and
simplicity of meaning and language, which makes it particularly
readable and accounts for its bestselling status.