The Alchemist

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The Oasis (Al-Fayoum) Symbol Analysis

The Oasis (Al-Fayoum) Symbol Icon

Al-Fayoum, the oasis, is considered neutral territory in the desert tribal wars. The elder chief emphasizes this tradition when Santiago confronts him with his vision of a future in which enemy warriors invade Al-Fayoum. There are two reasons for the neutrality of the oasis: first, both sides of the war have oases to protect, and so both share a strategic weakness, and, second, the oasis contains civilians, many of whom are women and children. Al-Fayoum therefore symbolizes neutrality, but also life and prosperity. The literal contrast between the stark surrounding desert and the rich and fruitful oasis echoes the contrast between the prevailing warfare of the desert and the safe haven of the oasis. The oasis demonstrates that a common morality exists among the tribes, even in the face of violent warfare. A neutral territory, which is respected by all parties, promises that there can be some measure of peace achieved on earth.

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The Oasis (Al-Fayoum) Symbol Timeline in The Alchemist

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Oasis (Al-Fayoum) 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
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...the Elixir of Life. He learned that this alchemist lives in the desert, at the Al-Fayoum oasis, so he decided to go in search of the alchemist. (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...Santiago and the Englishman’s conversation. He tells them that there's a caravan leaving today for Al-Fayoum. The Englishman says that this must be a good luck omen. He feels it was... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...speak the same language. It is this unity that will allow them to reach the oasis. He recognizes that if either of them had joined the caravan without an awareness of... (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
...can concentrate on the present, you'll be happy. Two nights, later he points out the oasis on the horizon. Santiago asks why they don't hurry there, and the camel driver responds,... (full context)
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
Santiago awakes with the sunrise and can see the date palms of the oasis. The Englishman exclaims happily, but Santiago is quiet and content to look at the trees... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
At the oasis, the alchemist is watching the caravan arrive. All types of new activity stir up dust,... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
Santiago is surprised to see that the oasis is larger than many towns in Spain. The Englishman observes that it looks like something... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...caravan calls his people together and gives them instructions. They plan to stay at the oasis until the conflict between the tribes is over. He asks everyone to hand over any... (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
...reminds himself to do everything in its own time. On their first day in the oasis, the travelers sleep. Santiago is assigned to a tent with other young men, and he... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...Santiago points out that he had never heard of alchemy, so maybe others in the oasis simply don't know the alchemist by that title. The Englishman agrees, and decides to ask... (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
...ever transformed lead into gold, and the Englishman responded that he has come to the oasis to learn how to do so. The alchemist responded that he should try his hand... (full context)
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The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
...but now he sees it as a blessing, because it has brought him to the oasis and to Fatima. Fatima points out that the war is going to end someday. Santiago... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
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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. Ever since she was a child, she dreamed that a wonderful... (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
...of the desert are used to departures. The desert always takes men away from the oasis. She knows that sometimes these men don't return, and if they don't return they become... (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 boy is given a sudden vision. The vision is of an army attacking the oasis. Santiago wishes he could forget the vision and return to his earlier thoughts, but he cannot.... (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,... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...the guard at the entrance to the huge white tent at the center of the oasis. When he announces his intention and says that he has brought omens from the desert,... (full context)
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Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
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...because he knows about the Soul of the World. The chieftains point out that the oasis is supposed to be neutral ground.  (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
...tribespeople observe traditions because they have helped their people survive. And tradition says that the oasis is a neutral territory. At the same time, tradition says that the people 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
Santiago leaves the tent to find the oasis illuminated by the light of a full moon. He is alarmed by the elder chieftain’s... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
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...in pursuit of his Personal Legend, and while seeing his vision of violence in the oasis actualized. (full context)
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The stranger seems pleased, and asks Santiago what he is doing in the oasis. Santiago says that he is following his Personal Legend. The stranger says that he had... (full context)
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The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The next day five hundred tribesmen appear on the horizon, but the men of the oasis surround the attackers and kill all of them. The children had been camped at the... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
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The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
That evening Santiago heads south through the oasis. He discovers a solitary tent and is told that it is a place inhabited by... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
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...bottle of wine, and Santiago is surprised, assuming that wine was also forbidden in the oasis. The alchemist says that it's not what enters men's mouths that is evil, but what... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
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...to guide Santiago across the 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... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
In this 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... (full context)
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Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...and of the woman who trusts the desert. Santiago and the alchemist return to the oasis. Santiago announces that he is going in search of his treasure, and he feels peace... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
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...do her regular chores. Her routine is the same, but everything else has changed. The oasis is now an empty place for her. From that dawn onward, the desert is important,... (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
...however. The desert is uniform and monotonous, so it is easy to think of the oasis. (full context)
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...in the sky, which shows that it has been a month since he left the oasis. At the top of the dunes, Santiago can see the Egyptian Pyramids illuminated by the... (full context)