Define the word "oasis,"  and explain what it has to do with the novel.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The definition of "oasis" is a "fertile or green spot in the desert."  It represents a type of shelter from the storm.  It is a moment of respite from the conditions of the desert.  Out of something that has come to symbolize a lack of life and something devoid of vitality, the oasis emerges.  It requires patience and determination to find the oasis as it does not appear quickly in Santiago's travels.  It takes time and commitment, but one knows it when they see it.  

For Santiago, his travels through the desert lead him to the oasis.  Santiago learns the value of living in the moment, seeking to divorce himself from want in the future and regret in the past.  The oasis' discovery enables him to understand this condition of his being.  It also serves a symbolic function.  In the midst of the quest for his Personal Legend, Santiago encounters many formidable and challenging elements.  He could choose to capitulate to these. Yet, he sojourns on and battles through the elements in accordance to his core vision of embracing his Personal Legend.  As a result, he finds the oasis, affording him the strength to continue.  The oasis is a representation of what is found on the journey towards a Personal Legend. It helps ensure that Santiago's focus is kept on what is important and what defines his being.

Read the study guide:
The Alchemist

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question