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

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

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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 or her life other than her love for Santiago. Fatima fully supports Santiago’s quest and encourages him to leave her in search of it. Fatima seems to define herself by her love and support of Santiago, but this does not mean that Fatima’s character is written as such to emphasize a sexist point of view concerning the role of women. This narrative, with the use of Fatima’s character and her role in Santiago’s life, speaks volumes about the role and power of both women and love.
Women are in a constant battle, not for an upper hand, but for mere equality. Coelho’s Fatima eagerly encourages the man she loves, Santiago, to leave her and fulfill his Personal Legend. This is an act that seems to emphasize Fatima’s belief that Santiago’s happiness is more important than hers, which seems to allude to an equality between the two characters. This characterization of Fatima may cause readers to question the narrative’s view on women. Fatima’s willingness to let Santiago continue with his journey while...

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... like all desert women, knows that just because Santiago must leave, it does not mean that he does not love her. Fatima is not resigning herself to stay behind and play the role of dutiful wife or girlfriend; she is merely prepared to wait for her treasure to return to her after he has found his.
The character of Fatima may not be explored at great depths in The Alchemist, but with her, Coelho has created a complex, strong feminine character. By using Fatima, the narrative is not making a statement about inequality, submissiveness, or resignation in regard to the role of women. Rather, the narrative is making a statement about the power of women and their love and the power of love in general. Santiago is willing to give up his dreams for love and because of love Fatima will not let him.

Works Cited
Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. New York: HarperOne.1998. Print

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