What is an example of man vs. nature in The Alchemist by Coelho?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Coelho's main character, Santiago, learns about the Language of the World during his travels in search of his treasure. Part of the philosophy behind the story includes the elements of the earth and how man is interconnected with them.  He learns about omens, or signals, from nature and God to help him along his way. The one conflict between man and nature could be during the climax of the story when Santiago asks the desert, the wind, and the sun to help him turn into the wind; if he doesn't perform this task, he could be killed by some tribesmen. Now, the desert, the wind, and the sun are not out to destroy Santiago; that is not the conflict. The conflict is if Santiago can actually talk to them and then if they can help him accomplish the task or not. Through his abilities to talk to these elements, he is able to figure out how to accomplish the difficult task through a process of elimination and discussion. It's not the average man vs. nature set up, but it works nonetheless to show such conflict.