Literary Theories, Linguistic Aspects And Interpretations Of The Alchemist

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In the last decade many researchers and readers has analyzed “The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho” through different literary theories and linguistics aspects. These studies mostly used psychoanalytical theory as a measurement to evaluate the story, otherwise others have different theories to use such as existentialism (Hasnah, Lily, 2008) and phenomenological (Mawadda, 2010). The alchemist is an allegorical novel written in Portuguese and then has been translated into 57 language by 2012. The story is all about Santiago who travels cross many countries till he reaches his destination which is Egypt aiming to find treasure, while facing a lot of struggles that could not stop him from continuing to follow his dream. this research has a differences and uniqueness, the theory that is used to for the analysis is the reception theory. The Following parts are critical interpretation for the novel , previous analysts’ studies, inference and evaluation and finally the results.


The method used to analyze and criticize the novel is qualitative, which relies on creditable and reliable studies supporting the following criticism. There are two sources used

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I. Primarily : Most of the primarily data came from Alchemist novel as primary data

II. Secondary: The secondary data came from previous studies , articles and books.

Reception theory

Reception theory conduct the readers ability to decode the message that was encoded by the writer may vary from reader to another, and the reader could understand the message in many different ways.

Interpretation and analysis

Interpretation is expressing and analyzing different topics. According to study made by (Nurul, 2015) shows that most of the readers have different theories and opinions against the novel, and their experiences, religions and backgrounds had a rule in formatting their criticism.

Positive interpretation

  1. The novel has a strong religious background, Muslim readers would feel that their religion is supported by some ideas were written in the novel. According to the novel the whole universe would conspire to support your dream , And the same concept was mentioned in the Quran.
  2. The overall experience and moral are incredibly inspiring the reader to find the light in a dark path.
  3. The novel leaves a positive impact in the reader mind, after reaching the end it influences the reader perspective of life.
  4. The words and the ideas were suitable for everyone, in different ages.
  5. Multiple Religious perspective, the novel mentioned that there is one god, but everyone interprets differently, this explanation is a descent simplification for different religions idea which help the reader to be more open minded and acceptable.
  6. Humanity has commonalities, which reduced the cultural and religious gap between different characters in the novel
  7. The writer simple manner of storytelling allows the reader to discern deeper meaning from what he is saying

Negative interpretation

  1. Alchemist novel is imaginary. However, the strong meaningful ideas the novels represent but it is not realistic. The reasons why He started this journey till the end , was not real enough for readers to imagine.
  2. The novel main ideas were not easily to understand, it could be considered as wisdom as well as it could cause a confusion to the reader due to the mixed thoughts and beliefs.
  3. The only female character in the novel was Fatima, However, the novel was about equality and acceptance women role was not an interesting idea for Coelho, which disagree with the overall idea.

Inference and evaluation

According to previous studies about the Alchemist by different writers from different countries, proves that decoding any message by readers may vary even though if readers are almost in the same education level. (Utomo, danang setyo) analyzes “the accurateness of translation directive utterance in the novel of Coelho”. Next, (Hasnah, Lily, 2008) emphasizes some Santiago’s process of making decisions seen from Kierkegaard’s existentialism explain about Santiago’s freedom and subjectivity. (Harb, mohammed mahmound, 2015) attempts to show the influence of Arabic literature on Paolo Coelho through his Alchemist novel. (Mawadda, 2010) describes the main character is the taught person, no matter hard, he keeps follow his way to reach his dream, he tries to fulfill his needs.


Literature psychology means “the effects of literature upon its readers or audience psychology”. The correlation between psychology and literature is strong as literature could influence the reader feeling and personality. That is the reason behind Coelho to write the alchemist as a literary work, the writer aimed to provide motivation and support to the readers till their feelings get better, and gave them an example of the struggles could face anyone but keep going through these circumstances would lead them to success and achievements. Some of the readers has received the message and others were confused due to the mixed ideas, but overall the alchemist achieved a massive success in the last years.


To sum up, Coelho is the writer of the alchemist novel which based on the psychological analysis. The main idea about a guy named Santiago who started his journey from Indonesia to Egypt to find treasure, no matter what he faces through his journey the spirit inside him never fade. The moral is to inspire millions of readers, motivate them, offer different aspect of life and use humanity as a common language despite different cultures. The negative side about the novel, Women were not mentioned in the story ,Only Fatima has a character, for some readers the story was not realistic and more imaginary as well as the ideas were not clear and mixed for the reader. Reader backgrounds greatly effects the novel interpretations by their country of origin. These claims were proved by some previous study were mentioned to prove the different perspective of each reader.


  1. Akhiriyah, U. (2008). The Struggle of Santiago to Find the Treasure in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.
  2. Harb, mohammed mahmound. (2015). The Influence of Classical Arabic Narrative on Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science.
  3. Hasnah, Lily. (2008). Decision Making in Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist.
  4. Mawadda, s. (2010). A Main Character Analysis of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho using Hierarchy of Human Needs of Abraham H. Maslow’s Theory.
  5. Nursecha, Nanang. (2014). Spiritual Journey in Paulo Coelho’s Novel The Alchemist (1993): An Individual Psychology Approach. Publication artical .
  6. Nurul, A. (2015). Positive and Negative Interpretations by Readers from Seven Countries on The Alchemist Novel by Paulo Coelho. Journal of literature.
  7. Ramadhona,Nuri Aprillia. (2012). Analysis of persuasion 5 strategies at identity of Santiago’s character in The Alchemist novel: an approach of critical discourse analysis.
  8. Utomo, danang setyo. (n.d.). Translation Analysis of Directive Utterances in Novel of The Alchemist into Sang Alkemis (Pragmatic Approach).
  9. Wijayanti, Oktavida. (2007). The Influence of Setting towards Santiago’s Characteristics as seen in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.
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