The most important lesson that the main character of the book, Santiago, learns from his journey is that if one wants to follow their dreams, then they must first listen to their heart. This is the most important lesson that Santiago learns because it helps him to understand the world around him and achieve his dreams. Earlier in Santiago’s life, he does what he wants in becoming a shepherd but after he accomplishes that, he goes through a day by day routine without much excitement. Finally, Santiago learns of his personal legend, and sets off on a quest to find the treasure at the end of the rainbow. During Santiago’s journey, he begins to question himself and why he is attempting this insane trek. He sees his life as useless, “no hope, no adventure, no old kings or personal legends, no treasure and no pyramids. It was as if the world had fallen silent because [Santiago’s] soul had.” (Coelho 47) He realizes, through the help of others, that he is following his dreams because that is what his heart is telling him to do and that he needs to “listen to [his] heart. It knows all things.” (Coelho 127) He has always does what he wants to do and never really thinks twice about what he is doing, but if he wants to finally follow his dreams, then he must learn to listen to his heart. The Alchemist, Santiago’s teacher, tells Santiago that “[he] will never be able to escape from [his] heart.” (Coelho 129) Santiago must learn to realize that his heart truly just wants the things that are best for him. As Santiago continues on his journey, he understands that his heart is only trying to help him whenever it can and it has never tried to hurt him. Throughout his quest across the desert, Santiago continues to try to listen to his heart but finds that “as they moved along, he [Santiago] tried to listen to his heart. It was not easy to do” (Coelho 128) and the boy finds that the harder he tries to listen to his heart, the easier it becomes. The boy and his heart are finally learning to communicate their thoughts with each other and Santiago finds that his heart truly knows what he wants deep down. As Santiago nears his final destination, he comes to a realization that without understanding his heart, he could never reach this point. As the boy moves on his heart speaks to him and “from then on, the boy understood his heart. He asked it, please, never to stop speaking to him.” (Coelho 131) Santiago understands that his heart’s voice has meaning and that without it, he could not have made the step outside of his life of being a shepherd. The voice that his heart speaks is his own voice in essence and in mind. The thoughts that the two share convinces Santiago that his journey is worth continuing on. This bond between man and heart is necessary for all mankind to understand. If one ever wants to achieve their dreams, then they must learn to understand what it is that their heart is telling them to do.
Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. New York: HarperCollins, 1998. Print.