Alchemist

Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janiero in 1947 and before his career as a
best-selling author, he was a playwright, theatre director, hippie, and popular
songwriter for some of Brazil’s leading pop artists. In 1986 he took a
pilgrimage along that Road of Santiago and this would be the center of the plot
of the book, The Pilgrimage, which was published in 1987. His second book was
named The Alchemist and was published in 1988. This book has gone to number one
in 29 countries and Coelho has been regarded as the most widely read
contemporary writers. The Alchemist was one of the top ten international best
sellers of 1998. His work has been published in more than 100 countries and is
translated into 42 different languages. He has been awarded a variety of
prestigious awards from many different countries. He today lives in South
America with his family. Main Characters – The Shepherd – This was the boy
through whose eyes the story was told. He followed his personal legend to the
fullest and never let up with his dream. He went all over the land and was able
to realize the treasure that he had been so close to in the beginning of the
novel. The King – He was the one that gave the shepherd the two stones that
would supposedly help him whenever he had a rough time deciding about what to
do. He made the boy give him ten percent of his flock, because you should never
promise something that you don’t have. The Englishmen – This was the man that
the boy met on his trip to the pyramids. He was the one who turned the boy onto
the idea of the alchemist and the masterwork. Before this he had never known of
the alchemist and the great things that he could do in the world. The Alchemist
– This is the man that he met in the desert and he helped the shepherd to lead
the people from the danger that was imminent from the war. He also allowed the
boy to follow his legend and realize his dream. Summary – The story begins when
the shepherd boy stopped for the night in a church with a sycamore tree growing
out of the middle. He told of the easy going life of the shepherd and how his
parents had wanted to become a priest. He had attended all of the schooling, but
had decided against it at the last minute. He had wanted to see the world and he
felt that the best way to do this was to go and become a shepherd. He said that
the life of a shepherd is easy and carefree and he felt like that this was the
way that he wanted to spend his life. He was anticipating seeing the daughter of
a man who would buy the wool from his sheep when he arrived in the town that he
would come to in another couple of days. He thought that he might actually
settle down and get married to this girl if she would like to. He had been
having a recurring dream about him at the pyramids in Egypt. There he would be
able to find all of the treasure in the world and to realize what would come to
be called his personal legend. So, the next town that he went to he went to a
fortuneteller and asked her if she could help him out of his dilemma. She was
unclear about what to do, but she made him promise to give him a percentage of
his treasure if he ever found it. When he left the fortuneteller, he went and
sat in the park where he would have been content to read his new book. He was
not in a good mood for talking with others when the old king approached him and
tried to strike up a conversation with him. He told the boy that everyone has a
personal legend that he has to fulfill at some time in his life. He tells him
that his could be found at the pyramids because of the dreams that he has been
having lately. He tells him that he will help him if he will give him ten
percent of his herd, because you should never promise anything that you don’t
have yet. He sold all of his sheep and he was given ummim and thummim, the two
rocks that would help him make any decisions that he was unable to make. He took
to the road and traveled to the northern tip of Africa. There he was setting off
with all of his money in his pocket and set to a bar where he didn’t speak the
same language as any of the people there. He was taken for a fool and all of his
money was taken in the first few hours. He stayed in the town for a while and he
went into a shop that sold crystal. He helped the man to clean all of the
crystal and while he was there, two people came in and bought crystal. The owner
thought that this was a good omen and that he should try to keep the boy around.


Since he didn’t have any money he stayed on for eleven months and greatly
improved the man’s shop. When he finally left he had enough money to do with
what he wanted and he set off to fulfill his personal legend. He traveled to the
pyramids by way of northern Africa. About half way through his trip he came onto
an oasis that was in the middle of a war between two native tribes. The rules of
war said that the oasis should be a safe haven for all of the people that were
traveling through the desert. This is where he met the alchemist, the man that
would help him to realize his personal legend. By going off into the desert at
night, he learned all about the masterwork and the many things that he needed to
do in order to become a true alchemist. He began to have a dream about a group
of rebels attacking the oasis because they thought that the travelers would be
taking up arms against them. The boy went to the men who were in charge of the
oasis and told them of the impending doom that was coming onto the oasis. They
didn’t believe that this dream was an omen but they gave him one shot. The
rebels did attack and they were able to fend off all of the assailants. The boy
was hailed as a hero and he went off into the desert to seek his personal
legend. Here he was forced to make a decision about whether or not to leave
behind the woman that he had met and had decided to marry. He said that he would
return later and he did. This was after he found out about his treasure that he
wanted for such a long time. He finally figured out that his treasure was in the
sycamore tree that was growing out of the middle of an old church. He returned
to his homeland and had his treasure intact and was able to live happily ever
after. Theme – The main theme of this novel was that you should follow your
personal legend to the fullest. Throughout his life the boy had been discouraged
and could have given up on his dream. But, this would have caused a void in his
life. This is sort of like the old man who owned the crystal shop, who would not
take a pilgrimage because he would have nothing left to look forward to in his
life. When the boy was leaving though, he did decide to take the pilgrimage and
probably did not regret the fact that he had done something to prove his faith.

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The Boy faced many obstacles in his lifetime but stayed true to what the omens
had told him and also what his personal legend had been. In the end he realized
the legend and found what he thought to be true happiness. Analysis – The thing
that particularly annoyed me about this book was the fact that was that the
theme was ever changing. Within the main theme there were many other small
themes that helped to develop the main theme, but added to the confusion of the
novel. The thing that I liked about this book was that it was very
straightforward and left nothing up to the imagination. If I were to rewrite
this book I would change it by adding in a little more bad things that happen to
the main character to show the real hardships that he had faced while chasing
his personal legend. If I would have had the opportunity to speak to the boy in
the book I would have told him that he should have stayed on at the crystal shop
because he had a good thing going and he could have made a lot of money and
bought his own happiness and realized his personal legend in his own rite. One
thing that reminded me of another book that I read was In the Lake of the Woods,
because both of the main characters were trying to run away from what had been
in their lives to find something better. I would recommend this book to anyone
who was undecided about what their life was meaning to them. This book really
gives them insight about their lives and that someone is worried about them and
that there is something that they have to look forward to, like the crystal
merchant.

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