The Alchemist

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The Camel Driver Character Analysis

An unnamed camel driver accompanies the desert caravan and shares his life perspective with Santiago. The camel driver lives entirely in the moment, and therefore does not fear death or the possibility of dying, even though his caravan travels through the tribal wars in the desert. Santiago learns patience from the camel driver, and how to do each thing in its own time.

The Camel Driver Quotes in The Alchemist

The The Alchemist quotes below are all either spoken by The Camel Driver or refer to The Camel Driver. 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

“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.”

Related Characters: The Camel Driver (speaker), Santiago
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

The camel driver teaches Santiago several important ideas as they travel together. Although he is different from Melchizedek and the Alchemist, his ideas are connected to the teachings of these other two men. The main focus on the camel driver’s character is the role of fear in human lives. His hardships from his past taught him to overcome fear over losing life, possessions, and property. In this quote, the camel driver explains why no person should fear loss. Fear stems from a misunderstanding of the world as a place in which humans can lose or gain things through our own failures or successes. Instead, the camel driver advocates for a worldview in which everything that happens is written by God. This idea reappears in the novel with the Crystal Merchant, who liked to say “maktub,” meaning “it is written,” and later with Fatima, who has faith that Santiago will return to her if their relationship is “meant to be.”

The idea of "maktub" is not placed at odds with free will or the need to actively pursue one’s Personal Legend. Instead, it is used as a way of thinking that provides comfort, reassurance, and peace. If one holds the worldview that all things are “written,” as the camel driver explains here, one can accept the future rather than feeling fear and anxiety about it. Good and bad possibilities are put into perspective by this worldview because they are both the work of the same creator.

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The camel driver understood what the boy was saying. He knew that any given thing on the face of the earth could reveal the history of all things. One could open a book to any page, or look at a person’s hand; one could turn a card, or watch the flight of the birds… whatever the thing observed, one could find a connection with his experience of the moment. Actually, it wasn’t that those things, in themselves, revealed anything at all; it was just that people, looking at what was occurring around them, could find a means of penetration to the Soul of the World.

Related Characters: Santiago, The Camel Driver
Page Number: 104-105
Explanation and Analysis:

Santiago has a vision of an army invading the oasis and decides to explain this to his friend the camel driver. He also explains that seeing hawks flying and fighting above the desert made him feel as if he were in touch with the Soul of the World. His vision seemed to be the result of this connection with the Soul of the World, as if by accessing the Soul of the World, Santiago was able to access knowledge of the future. The camel driver understands this idea because he believes that everything in the world is connected. This quote explains the consequences of that connection: if everything is connected, any one thing contains, or allows access to, all things. Therefore, it is enough to study a small corner of the world if one wants to learn about the whole world. The camel driver gives several examples of a small corner of the world that could provide information about the whole world—a page of a book, a hand, a card, the flight of birds. These things are all very simple. This shows that the more universal a concept, the simpler it is. (This concept also applies to alchemy, as the book makes clear elsewhere.)

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The Camel Driver Character Timeline in The Alchemist

The timeline below shows where the character The Camel Driver 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
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
One night Santiago talks to a camel driver , who tells him that, despite how many times he has crossed the desert, the... (full context)
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
...feels certain that she has married someone else. He feels that his intuitive understanding of the camel driver ’s comment about the desert means that he might be learning some of the universal... (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 Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...finds it more interesting to observe the caravan in the desert. He becomes friends with the camel driver , and at night as they sit around the fire together. Santiago tells him about... (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 Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
The camel driver says that disaster taught him to understand that people need not fear the unknown if... (full context)
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
The Englishman asks the camel driver if they're in danger from the tribal wars. The camel driver says that in the... (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
...and night, and the animals are exhausted from being pushed at a faster pace. Only the camel driver seems unconcerned by the threat of war. He tells Santiago that he focuses on the... (full context)
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...a long way to go to reach the pyramids. But now he has learned from the camel driver , and he wants to live in the moment. In this moment, the presence of... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...and women ask about the fighting and the products that they've brought over the desert. The camel driver has explained to Santiago that the oases are considered neutral territories, because most of the... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...does not want to push forward impulsively and ignore omens from God. He thinks of the camel driver , and reminds himself to do everything in its own time. On their first day... (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
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
Santiago returns to the oasis and finds the camel driver . Santiago tells him that he knows an army is coming, because he has had... (full context)
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
Once, an old seer asked the camel driver why he was so interested in the future. The camel driver had responded that he... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The old seer told the camel driver that the future truly belongs only to God. In his line of work, he guesses... (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
The camel driver tells Santiago to go and speak to the tribal chieftains and tell them what he... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...might have to pay for that success with his life. But he reminds himself of the camel driver ’s words—that to die one day is no worse than dying on any other. Santiago... (full context)