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A Theme of Fear in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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A Theme of Fear in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho essay

Fear is in all human beings that always pulls us back into the darkness. It is also something that will protect us by signaling danger and preparing us to deal with it. But behind that fear is your Personal Legend. A Personal Legend is your life’s spiritual purpose. It is a spiritual calling that awakens a deep desire and passion to live with a sense of purpose for something greater than yourself. The main character, Santiago, during his journey he learns to listen to the heart and to follow the language of omens. Among each passing obstacle and hardships that the young boy encounters, there is a lesson to learn. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a book about how Santiago goes to pursue his dreams, however, faces multiple kinds of fears while on his journey. Fear is also what makes us human, and If we couldn’t be afraid, we wouldn’t survive for long. And, most importantly, we wouldn’t be able to make our decisions because we think that we don’t deserve them or unable to achieve them. “People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them”. People tend to believe that our hearts tells us things such as when its afraid, sad, happy, and angry. However, people also think that it is foolish to follow one’s dreams because it is something a child would do and that they need to think realistically and act more like an ‘adult’. Those who decide to not act on their dreams then leads them to regret and wish they had done it, “You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say”. You will not be able to run away from your problems or fear so it’s best to just face them head on. For example, when there is a roadblock on your way to success after working so hard would you quit because of it or keep going straight ahead and defeat anything that is in your way? We, human beings are creatures who crave for success and won’t allow our fears to stand in our way for us to make ourselves a proud and successful person. However, to be a successful person would be first completing your Personal Legend.

Fear of losing your loved ones. Santiago from The Alchemist fell in love with a girl who was fetching water, Fatima, who distracts Santiago from his dream of reaching the pyramids and his treasure. “Maktub,” she said. “If I am really a part of your dream, you’ll come back one day” (The Alchemist). With the beauty she had, Santiago fell in love with her, that love for her had Santiago to make a close decision to just stay at the oasis with her instead of going after the treasure. However, he knew that he couldn’t do that because he was after his Personal Legend, “And I am part of your dream, a part of your Personal Legend, as you call it” (The Alchemist). Santiago wonders if Fatima might be the treasure he has traveled so far to discover. Her smile appears as an omen, the one he has been waiting for all his life. Santiago finally accomplished his personal legend and part of it was Fatima. Fear of seeing how society will treat you or judge you. There some people judge others and believe that their judgment is correct while in fact it has nothing to do with reality. Also, some of the people who are judged negatively by others feel bad about themselves and believe that there is something wrong with them, this results in a low self confidence and poor self esteem. “Most people see the world as a threatening place, and because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place…”. In some people’s eyes, they see the world as a cruel and cold place. There are some people assuming the intentions of others when they lack information and this leads to incorrect judgment most of the time. In today’s society there are people that give a look at some people judging them how they look or skin color. “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company in which the members agree for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater, the virtue in most request is conformity”. In other words, society glorifies conformity to man-made rules, laws, and customs. A great man should be able to decide for himself what is wrong or right, without any help.  

Fear of never achieving your dreams. The fear of never achieving your dreams is a scary topic, because just thinking about it just sends a chill down your spine or you freeze in place. The truth is that the more, and bigger of your dreams, the more difficult it is to live up to it. “But now I’m sad and alone. I’m going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one person betrayed me. I’m going to hate those who have found their treasure because I never found mine”. As a result, it becomes easier not to try at all in order to avoid pain, disappointment, and rejection. You’ll never be able to discover how far you could have gone. We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property, “But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand”. Still, you shouldn’t have let these fears stop you. Why? Because choosing to do nothing is the worst decision of all. Everyone faces crucial moments in their lives, and it’s up to you to gather the courage to pursue your Personal Legend. Fear of just letting go of things. It’s easier to cling onto the past than to face the reality of the present, which can hinder your development. The same can apply to people, places, and things. Sometimes, we want to hold onto something from the past, which influences us to make decisions that don’t align with what’s right for ourselves at the moment. “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. Letting go is something we all need to do in our lives. It doesn’t mean that forgetting a memory or pretending something that didn’t happen. It’s all about appreciating something for what it is, whether it’s a past relationship, or where you used to live. At the same time, you know what’s right for you in the present. “I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now” (The Alchemist). While someone who was good to you in the past, they might not be what you need now. In truth, letting go is liberating. It frees us of our burdens, the past, and unnecessary worries. When you let go, you can simply carry the knowledge that you can choose to shape your present and future.

The Alchemist is a book about how the multiple fears that Santiago had to face on his journey to pursue his Personal Legend. The many fears that Santiago had to face was being in the darkness, losing loved ones, being judged by other people, never achieving your dreams, and letting things go. Everybody has different reactions to different situations that they face, but the one thing we, human beings do not like to face, however, still have to is the fears that we hold. We can either let those fears burden us or use it and face against it in order to grow stronger.

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