Study Guide

The Alchemist Language and Communication

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Language and Communication

Put on your snorkel masks and dive into the super-abstract world of the Languages of the World, the Soul, and the Universe (all of which are one and the same). Don't know what we're talking about? Don't worry; Paulo Coelho's New-Agey ideas about language and communication are repeated and explained over and over in The Alchemist. It basically boils down to intuition, or communicating without pictures or words, and being in tune with the universe. Easy peasy, right? Well, maybe not so much. The world and people may be constantly sending out signals, but we have to pay attention or they'll fly right on by.

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. Find a few examples of communication without using pictures or words in the novel. How does this communication happen, and through what medium?
  2. How is it possible that Santiago and the candy seller communicate without speaking each other's language? Have you ever had an experience like this?
  3. When Santiago turns himself into the wind, he has conversations with various natural elements. Do you think he's actually talking to them, or is this more of a silent communion with nature?

Chew on This

When Fatima and Santiago meet, they speak a universal language of loveā€”unrelated to Spanish or Arabic.

In the language of omens, luck and coincidence are two of the most frequently used signs.

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