The Alchemist: How Dreams and Omens
Support the Theme of Interconnection
The use of omens and dreams in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, significantly develops the theme that everything in the universe is interconnected. It is through these events that the main character’s personal destiny is revealed. These omens and dreams, which introduce the topics of Language and Soul of the World along with their life implications, best support the main theme through three moments in the novel: Santiago’s time as a shepherd when he subconsciously learns about the Language of the World, working for the Crystal Merchant where Santiago learns about his destiny, and meeting the alchemist where Santiago learns about the power within. These occurrences, through the use of omens and dreams, enable the comprehension of Coelho’s theme that everything around us is interconnected.
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Originally, while exploring the world as a humble shepherd, Santiago unknowingly discovers the Language of the World through his dreams and omens. This primarily occurs when he begins to understand the sheep’s feelings without speaking their language. This power of intuitive interconnection is demonstrated when Santiago says, “It was as if some mysterious energy bound his life to that of the sheep, with whom he had spent the past two years, leading them through the countryside in search of food and water” (pg2). Shortly thereafter, Santiago also places great importance on his dreams, wanting meaningful explanations for them, evidenced when he thought, “He had suddenly remembered that, in Tarifa, there was an old woman who interpreted dreams” (pg15). Ultimately, Santiago’s dream and omen comprehension reveals his personal destiny or Personal Legend, proving that his subconscious thoughts connect to his everyday life and his potential wealthy future, therefore, supporting the theme of interconnection .
Dreams and omens, within the novel, also enhance the theme’s message when Santiago meets the crystal merchant. As Santiago starts working for the merchant, he hears the shopkeeper say he abandoned his dream of going to Mecca for lack of energy and motivation to continue operating his store upon his return, but mostly due to his omens’ warnings to stay. Santiago accepts this as a sign and eventually learns from the merchant’s mistakes and vows to continue his destined journey dictated by his omens and dreams, “He had learned some important things, like how to deal in crystal, and about the language without words... and about omens” (pg87). His personal growth and decision to follow his established fate strongly support the theme of interconnection as it demonstrates the clear link between following dreams and omens to one’s path toward destiny.
A third and crucial part of the novel, where dreams and omens ultimately teach Santiago that everything is connected, is when he travels through the desert and meets the alchemist. Enlightenment occurs when it is stated, “The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it's all written there” (pg118). This evidently highlights the importance of the soul’s connection to everything and everyone on Earth. Additionally, this is where the alchemist teaches Santiago about the Soul of the World and how to listen to his heart to find and control the surrounding omens. In the end, the theme that everything is connected is most distinctly reinforced when Santiago reaches the Pyramids and ascertains his most valuable lesson that it is not necessarily the destination but rather the journey that will teach the most purposeful lessons. Santiago’s dreams and omens then reveal that every moment in life leads to the next, demonstrating that every thought, decision, and action affects another and are consequently interconnected.
Omens and dreams are most significant within Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist as they evidently support the theme that everything in the universe is interconnected. The introduction of the Language of the World and Soul of the World through omens and dreams eventually leads to Santiago’s personal growth as he comprehends his purpose in life, his correlation to all around him, and his journey on Earth. Thanks to the dreams and omens presented throughout events such as Santiago’s time as a shepherd, his work with the Crystal Merchant, and his desert journey, the novel’s theme has been evidently expressed, resulting in a fuller comprehension of the theme that everything in the universe has a distinctive language and soul uniting and interconnecting it all.