Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” is a very symbolistic novel; throughout the story the protagonist Santiago is faced with many challenges, and must push through adversity. Despite these obstacles, Santiago continues to believe that everything was meant to be, and it was all written by the same hand. The word “maktub” is repeatedly mentioned throughout the novel; the word means: it was written. It is a recurring idea throughout the story, and it plays a crucial role in the decisions the protagonist makes. The word “maktub” also refers to an idea related to fate and destiny. Santiago and many other characters believe that destiny is true and heavily present throughout the world, and that there is something great out there for all of us, but we just have to go find it. One of the main themes throughout the novel is that all things are determined by fate, and that destiny is the deciding factor of our life.Fate and destiny play a major role throughout the novel, and they are known to be one of the main factors in finding your personal legend. The word “maktub” is Arabic for the phrase: it is written, and translates to fate and destiny. It derives from the Islamic belief that Allah writes an individual’s destiny and whatever events that occur happened because it was meant to be. This belief is constantly mentioned in the story and is apparent that many of the characters believe in this notion. The story’s plot also adds to the notion as it is shown that everything was meant to be from beginning to end. The protagonist Santiago embarks on a personal journey, and through his journey he learns new things and has different types of experiences that help shape his views and beliefs. Through his journey he understands the true language of the world, and also understands that everything is determined by destiny, and it is all written by the same hand. The protagonist, Santiago, evidently embraces this idea as while in a conversation with the soul of the wind he says, ” i have inside me the winds, the deserts, the oceans, the stars, and everything created in the universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul…” (Coelho, 146). In this quote he explains the belief that everything is created by the same hand, and that everything has the same soul. Santiago is a very spiritual individual, and Coelho expresses the theme through the protagonist’s dialogue and speech throughout the novel.Coelho also expresses the theme through symbolism. A symbol the author uses to express his theme is the desert. The desert is a very stationary, and non-changing place. The desert doesn’t change, and if it does it requires an extensive period of time to do so. The desert represents destiny because a person’s destiny does not change; however, despite one’s destiny not changing, an individual’s life and situation may change. This idea is conveyed in the story through the speech of Fatima who is the love of Santiago, she says, “the dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes” (Coelho, 97). Through this quote Coelho uses dialogue to express his theme. The desert is not only a location, but it also represents Santiago’s personal legend as it will always be a part of him despite his life changing.In conclusion, The Alchemist is a highly figurative novel which includes many symbols, and different types of literary devices. The main theme of the story is the importance of destiny, and how it doesn’t change. Coelho continuously mentions these ideas in his novel, and provides dialogue that include these thoughts. Through the speech of the characters we truly discover the meaning behind this book.