Study Guide

The Alchemist Love

By Paulo Coelho

Love

What is love? What is air? What is … oh, never mind. You could ask Jim Carrey—or you could just try Paulo Coelho's Alchemist. Much like the other ideas in the novel, the concept of love is abstract and mystical, but here's our try: it's a deep communion between two souls that doesn't require speaking the same language, knowing the other person's name, or other pesky things like credit history and hygiene. In other words, love is an at-first-sight experience that occurs when two people who have been waiting for each other see each other and just…know. Keep that in mind next time you're trying to catch the lifeguard's eye with your fake drowning shenanigans: if it's meant to be, you shouldn't have to drown. Or try.

Questions About Love

  1. In The Alchemist, love is something that two people can fall into without even knowing each other very well. Do you think that the novel proposes everlasting love, or can they fall out just as easily? 
  2. Do you think it's fair that Fatima's treasure, or Personal Legend, is her true love coming out of the desert, while Santiago's is an actual, golden treasure?
  3. Does our culture strongly associate love and possession? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Santiago and Fatima are fated to fall in love and will definitely find their way back to each other.

Santiago must learn that loving Fatima does not mean controlling or possessing her.