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alchemist2 (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Anam Khan
Mr. Lorber
Senior English 2
March 13, 2006
Paulo Coelho’s the Alchemist is a beautiful fable about a young dreamer. It is the story of a shepherd and the chain of events that lead him to achieve the only goal he ever dreamt of. Some say that the Alchemist is overrated as an international best seller. They say that it is a book full of fancy language that, when looked at logically, does not say anything important. The critic says that lines like ‘love is a falcon’s flight over the sands’ it saying something important. However, this does not somehow mean that Paulo Coelho is telling me something important about my life. The critic continues to say that, at times in the book, Coelho seems confused by his own thoughts. Other critics say that the Alchemist teaches one a lot about life and that one has to have a creative imagination to grasp the ideas in the book. Others say that Coelho’s words are multidimensional and flexible and the interpretation is always dependent on the reader. The Alchemist communicates wise ideas in a beautiful and creative manner. It talks about how important it is for one to find their personal legend. The old king tells Santiago, “A personal legend is something you always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their personal legend is.” (23) The story also puts emphasis on the on the fact that realizing one’s personal legend is only the first step. It is after the realization when the real challenges begin. Sometimes people feel the world is out to get them and that they are meant to be unhappy. “What is the world’s greatest lie? It is this: that at a certain point in our lives, we loose control of what is happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate,” the old king told Santiago, the shepherd. (18)
Santiago had gone to school, learned how to read and write. He could have chosen any profession but he chose to be a shepherd. Santiago wanted to travel and see how the people lived beyond the Spanish fields where he had grown up. Coming from a poor farming family, he knew his only chance at traveling would be if he became a shepherd. Santiago’s dream had been bigger than the average dream of wealth and fame. Santiago wanted to become a simple shepherd who knew the language of the world and its people. Santiago traveled all over Spain but soon realized that his sheep limited his traveling to only Spain. After a reoccurring dream that told him to go seek his treasure at the pyramids of Egypt, Santiago sells his sheep and starts on his long journey to the pyramids. The determination to achieve comes only after realizing what one truly wants and separating that from what others want. The king told the shepherd, “In the long run, what shepherds think about shepherds and bakers becomes important for them than their own personal legends.” (25)
Many people know what they want or have some idea about what would make them happy, but very few actually follow their dreams. Santiago’s journey was full of challenges tested his patience and courage. He learned something new from each challenge that helped him throughout his journey. “Every search begins with beginner’s luck and ends with the one being severely tested.” (p139) For a year, Santiago stayed with a crystal merchant and sold crystal to raise some money. He taught the merchant how to rearrange his shop to attract more customers. By the time Santiago left, Santiago had taught the merchant about change and progress. The crystals and the merchant had taught Santiago about the virtue of patience. Santiago had read many books in the lonely fields of Spain, with his sheep, but they did not teach him half the lessons that his journey had taught him about the people of the world. “There is only one way to learn," the alchemist told Santiago. "It is through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.” (p132) The hardest test comes right before reaching the destination. "What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we have learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up. It is the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon,” the alchemist told the boy.
Sometimes one feels like the world is out to get them. Despite the challenges, Paulo Coelho proposes that when one is sure of what he/she wants, there is a natural force that helps you to achieve your dream. The book says life really is generous to those who pursue their destinies. Coelho also says, “When a person makes a decision, he/she is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” (p71) Santiago goes through a chain of events that lead him to achieve his dream. In the end, Santiago realizes that it was not the material treasure that pleased him, but the long trip to the treasure that fulfilled his only dream of traveling and learning how other people lived. It was not the destination that was his personal legend, but the journey. The dream about the treasure encouraged him to go after his destiny. If it had not been for that dream, Santiago might have never sold his sheep to go travel to other lands.
All in all,