The Alchemist Essay

Gary Puente Title: The Alchemist Author: Paulo Coelho Date: 9/6/12 Quotes: “Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth. ” (Melchizedek) “We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions or our property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand. ” (Camel driver) “Well, usually I learn more from my sheep than from books. (Santiago) Explanation: I chose this quote because it talks about having a certain goal in life that you really want to achieve and make a reality. If you truly strive for that goal there is nothing that can stop you, everything is in your favor. Once Santiago realizes this, that is when he strives to find his Personal Legend. I chose this quote because it talks about fear. Something that every human portrays, and comes up in the novel quite often. Once Santiago realizes there is nothing to be scared about, he is able to do anything he puts his mind to.

I chose this quote because it came up early in the novel and I thought it told a lot about Santiago. He has spent so much time with his sheep that he feels he learns more from them, than he would a book. It showed me he cared a lot about his sheep and he would probably have them for as long as he lived. Their bond is unbreakable. Main Theme: I believe the theme of this novel is Dreams. Santiago’s dream of a treasure in Egypt reveals to him his Personal Legend and sets the entire plot of the Alchemist into motion.

Whether or not an individual believes in dreams creates a dividing line between the “enlightened” and “unenlightened” characters in the novel. It is a mixture of ever character’s dreams that play a different scene. Setting: Spain Main Character: Santiago Summary: A reacurring dream is messing around with Santiago, a young and adventurous Andalusian shepherd. He has the dream every time he sleeps under a sycamore tree that grows out of the outside of a church. During the dream, a child tells him to seek treasure at the Egyptian Pyramids.

Santiago meets with a gypsy woman to interpret the dream, and to his surprise she tells him to go to Egypt. A strange, magical old man named Melchizedek, who claims to be the King of Salem, copies the gypsy’s advice and tells Santiago that it is his Personal Legend to journey to the pyramids. Melchizedek convinces Santiago to sell his flock and set off to Tangier. When Santiago arrives in Tangier, a thief robs him, making him have to find work with a local crystal merchant. The conservative and kindly merchant teaches Santiago several lessons, and Santiago encourages the merchant to take risks with his business.

The risks pay off, and Santiago becomes a rich man in just a year. Santiago decides to cash in his earnings and continue pursuing his Personal Legend, (to find treasure at the pyramids. ) He joins a caravan crossing the Sahara desert toward Egypt and meets an Englishman who is studying to become an alchemist. He learns a lot from the Englishman during the journey. As it turns out, the caravan has to make an extended stop in Al-Fayoum in order to avoid violent tribal wars taking place in the desert. There, Santiago falls in love with Fatima, who lives at the oasis.

During a walk in the desert, Santiago witnesses an omen that sees an attack on the historically neutral oasis. He warns the tribal chieftains of the attack, and as a result, Al-Fayoum successfully defends itself against the assault. The alchemist hears of Santiago’s vision and invites Santiago on a trip into the desert, during which he teaches Santiago about the importance of listening to his heart and pursuing his Personal Legend. While the alchemist and Santiago continue through the desert, the alchemist shares much of his wisdom about the Soul of the World.

They are a couple of days away from the pyramids when a tribe of Arab soldiers captures them. In exchange for his life and the life of Santiago, the alchemist hands to the tribe all of Santiago’s money and tells the soldiers that Santiago is a powerful alchemist who will turn into wind within three days. Santiago feels alarmed because he has no idea how to turn into the wind, and over the next three days he contemplates the desert. On the third day, he communicates with the wind and the sun and coaxes them to help him create a tremendous sandstorm.

He prays to the Hand That Wrote All, and at the height of the storm he disappears. He reappears on the other side of the camp, and the tribesmen, awed by the power of the storm and by Santiago’s ability, let him and the alchemist go free. The alchemist continues to travel with Santiago as far as a Coptic monastery several hours from the pyramids. There, he demonstrates to Santiago his ability to turn lead into gold using the Philosopher’s Stone. He gives Santiago a piece gold and sends him off. Santiago begins digging for the treasure at the pyramids, but two men grab him and start beating him.

When Santiago speaks to them about his dream and why he is there, they decide he must have no money and let him live. Before leaving, one of the men tries to tell him the worthlessness of dreams by telling Santiago about his own dream. It concerns a treasure buried in an abandoned church in Spain where a sycamore tree grows. The church is the same one in which Santiago had his original dream, and he finally understands where his treasure is. He returns to Spain to find a chest of jewels and gold buried under the tree. His treasure was right where he started his journey from in the first place.