The Alchemist (Coelho)

Explain the significance of 3 major conflicts in the novel

One internal conflict and one external conflict

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I would suggest that there are actually 4 central conflicts in The Alchemist. The author, Paulo Coelho, suggests that there are 4 obstacles to obtaining a dream; being told you can not achieve the dream, fear of hurting those you love, fear of failure, and fear of realizing the dream. First, Santiago is told he can not achieve his dream. Santiago is told by many characters from his dad, a gypsy, and other travelers that his dream is crazy or unrealistic. One reason people say something is impossible is that they are afraid that you will leave them so you begin to fear hurting the person. He also has a hard time pursuing his dream for fear of hurting those around him like his father, the merchant's daughter, and Fatima. Once you decide that you are going to do something even if it hurts others, you begin to fear trying something and failing at it. Santiago fears failing when he thinks that it might be better to just keep his sheep than risk losing them or to just stay at the oasis than risk losing Fatima. Finally, a person sometimes gets really close to a dream and then gives up because they are afraid of starting a new life or having to start a new dream. Santiago fears actually getting his treasure because it means that he has nothing left to live for. The glass merchant felt this way, too. If you work for something your whole life, that can keep you going but once you finish it, it is scary to face what your life might be like.