The Alchemist

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Santiago’s love interest, Fatima is a woman living in the desert oasis. As a desert woman, she is stoic and steadfast. The love between Santiago and Fatima is help up as ideal – a love that is sincere and true but also involves faith rather than any effort to control the beloved. Fatima believes in letting her beloved Santiago wander free, and encourages him to pursue his Personal Legend. She promises to wait for him while he does so.

Fatima Quotes in The Alchemist

The The Alchemist quotes below are all either spoken by Fatima or refer to Fatima. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper One edition of The Alchemist published in 2014.
Part Two Quotes

At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him. When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. Something that exerted the same force whenever two pairs of eyes met, as had theirs here at the well. She smiled, and that was certainly an omen—the omen he had been awaiting, without even knowing he was, for all his life. The omen he had sought to find with his sheep and in his books, in the crystals and in the silence of the desert.

Related Characters: Santiago, Fatima
Page Number: 95-96
Explanation and Analysis:

Santiago meets a young woman at the well in the oasis while he and the Englishman are searching for the Alchemist. Santiago’s reaction to meeting this young woman, whose name is Fatima, is immediate and overwhelming. Without even speaking to her, he understands that he loves her, and he sees their lives as intertwined. He's suddenly sure that she is what he was “awaiting, without even knowing he was, for all his life.” This passage uses some of the familiar clichés of “love at first sight,” including that for Santiago “time stands still,” and that he understands love for the first time in his life when he looks on Fatima. Furthermore, Coelho doesn't ever show us this moment from Fatima's point of view--it's just assumed that she too falls in love with Santiago, because it is "destiny."

There are also elements of this “love at first sight” passage that play off the unique themes of this novel. Santiago seems to access the Soul of the World and the universal language in this moment, and sees connections among all things because the source of these connections is love. Humanity and the world are united and connected by love, which Santiago is able to understand in the moment he falls in love. Fatima’s smile is described as an “omen,” and Santiago has been on the lookout for omens from God to guide him on his journey. Because Fatima’s smile is an omen, this connects the fateful meeting between these characters to the idea that God is preparing a path for Santiago. Their meeting is “written,” just as all of Santiago's other experiences and lessons have been.

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“And I am a part of your dream, a part of your destiny, as you call it. That’s why I want you to continue toward your goal. If you have to wait until the war is over, then wait. But if you have to go before then, go on in pursuit of your dream. The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes. That’s the way it will be with our love for each other…Maktub,” she said. “If I am really a part of your dream, you'll come back one day.”

Related Characters: Fatima (speaker), Santiago
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

Fatima’s reaction to Santiago’s declaration of love relies on her understanding of the world as a place in which events, meetings, and actions are “written” by the hand of God. Her faith allows her to tell Santiago to go on his quest. Like the camel driver, she is not afraid of the future because she trusts in the idea of “maktub,” or “it is written.” She uses this exact same language, despite not having interacted with the other characters in the novel, such as the Crystal Merchant, who hold this worldview of God writing all that happens. Because Fatima repeats this same lesson, it is made abundantly clear that this is one of the central themes of the novel.

Fatima’s expression of her faith that Santiago will return if “it is written” uses descriptive language of nature. She says that “the dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes.” This metaphor shows that while the surface of something might change, the identity of a thing cannot be changed. By comparing her and Santiago’s love to the desert, she shows that their love is deeper than the surface level, which can change in appearance. This nature metaphor also reinforces the idea that important life lessons can be learned from observing the natural world. Fatima models her behavior on a truth she learned while observing the desert.

Of course, it's also worth noting that Santiago and Fatima's love is supposed to be "deep and unchanging" because of destiny, not because they have actually gotten to know each other. Furthermore, Fatima only really exists as a part of Santiago's destiny--she has no real agency or "dream" of her own in the novel.

“If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.” The man was speaking the language of alchemy. But the boy knew that he was referring to Fatima.

Related Characters: The Alchemist (speaker), Santiago, Fatima
Related Symbols: Alchemy
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

As Santiago and the Alchemist set off across the desert on the final leg of Santiago’s quest, the Alchemist can tell that Santiago is sad to be leaving Fatima behind. He offers these words of reassurance, which encourage Santiago to trust in the power of his connection with Fatima, which will outlast time and distance if it is a “pure” and lasting love, not just "a moment of light.” This is one of the most explicit examples in the novel of alchemy as a metaphor for life's events. The Alchemist is speaking about a principle of alchemy—that pure matter cannot be contaminated—but Santiago understands this concept to be a metaphor for an idea about love—that pure love cannot be contaminated by time and separation. Throughout the novel, the study and practice of alchemy is used as a model for living an examined life of self-improvement and learning.

The language of the Alchemist’s metaphor uses not only the elements of alchemy, but observations about the world. He describes a more fleeting love as “a moment of light, like the explosion of a star.” The explosion of a star is very bright, but its brightness and energy means that it also expires quickly. By applying this observation to love, the Alchemist is arguing that a bright love is temporary, but the pure love between Santiago and Fatima will be long-lasting.

Epilogue Quotes

The wind began to blow again. It was the levanter, the wind that came from Africa. It didn’t bring with it the smell of the desert, nor the threat of Moorish invasion. Instead, it brought the scent of a perfume he knew well, and the touch of a kiss—a kiss that came from far away, slowly, slowly, until it rested on his lips. The boy smiled. It was the first time she had done that. “I’m coming, Fatima,” he said.

Related Characters: Santiago (speaker), Fatima
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

The novel ends with Santiago's quest complete, his treasure claimed, and his promise to return to Fatima in the oasis. This quote highlights the connection between Santiago and Fatima across continents. Their connection is embodied in the wind that blows from Africa to Spain. This language reinforces the idea that Santiago and Fatima are connected through the Soul of the World, which connects all things. The wind is a medium that passes Fatima's scent and kiss to Santiago, because the wind is likewise part of the Soul of the World. 

Santiago ends the novel with a smile and a whispered promise because the Soul of the World has maintained his connection to Fatima. The Soul of the World, one and the same as the Soul of God, is a force of goodness and love in the universe. Just as this good force helped Santiago to achieve his Personal Legend, so too does it wish for the lovers to be reunited. The message of this novel overall, then, is one of positive empowerment. Despite the trials he faced, Santiago was never alone. He succeeded, even though the location of his treasure was different than he expected. He didn't have access to the full picture as God could see it, but he persisted in following the omens, which led to his success. This ending of this novel promises this possibility of fulfillment for everyone, by reminding the reader of the force of good at work in the world. 

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Fatima Character Timeline in The Alchemist

The timeline below shows where the character Fatima appears in The Alchemist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part Two
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
Santiago asks the girl her name, and she says it is Fatima. The Englishman prods Santiago to ask about a man who cures illnesses. Fatima says that... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
The next day Santiago returns to the well, hoping to see Fatima. She is not there, but the Englishman is. He tells Santiago that he encountered the... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Englishman leaves, and Fatima arrives at the well. Santiago tells her that he loves her and wishes to marry... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Santiago goes to the well every day to meet Fatima. He tells her about his life as a shepherd, his encounter with Melchizedek, and his... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
Fatima realizes that she has been waiting for Santiago at the oasis for a long time.... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Santiago is sad after he says farewell to Fatima that day. He thinks of the difficulty of telling a loved one that you must... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
Santiago goes in search of the Englishman, to tell him about Fatima. He finds that the Englishman has built a furnace outside his tent. The Englishman seems... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
...that none of that gold is from the pyramids. Santiago says that he has found Fatima, and that she is a greater treasure than anything else. The alchemist says that she... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
...desert. Santiago says that he wants to stay at the oasis because he has found Fatima. The alchemist says that because Fatima is a woman of the desert, she knows that... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
...future, Santiago will be a wealthy counselor to the oasis chieftains. He'll be married to Fatima and they will be happy. He will get better and better at interpreting omens from... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Santiago does not sleep that night. Two hours before dawn he goes in search of Fatima. He asks an Arab boy to wake her from her tent and to tell her... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
Santiago promises that he'll be back. Fatima says that she used to look to the desert with longing, but know she will... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...of metals and alchemy, Santiago knows that he is actually talking about Santiago’s love for Fatima.  It is difficult to take the alchemist’s advice and not dwell on what he is... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
Santiago’s heart is agitated and emotional, and keeps him awake at night thinking about Fatima. The alchemist explains these are signs that his heart is alive. Over the next three... (full context)
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...it does not understand Santiago. Santiago insist that at least the desert can understand that Fatima is waiting for him in the desert, and that he must return to her. The... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
...a king, a merchant, an Englishmen, and an alchemist along the way, as well as Fatima. Santiago realizes that as he has sought his Personal Legend, he has also learned everything... (full context)
Epilogue
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
...perfume, as well as a kiss from far away. Santiago smiles and says, "I'm coming, Fatima." (full context)