Critical Lens

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The following quote, “Sometimes failure is more beneficial than success” is a bold and eccentric statement to make, but it is indeed true. In my view, success is largely dependent on how we fail since it is what breeds learning and new understanding. It is impossible to be perfect in life and not to have committed a single mistake. Obstacles constantly present themselves, challenging and sometimes hindering our ability to overcome them at first. Although it may reveal our weakness, failure undoubtedly builds character and allows us to become what we ideally wish to be. The following works of literatures, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, demonstrate how failure pushes the protagonists of each individual story and provides a stepping stone toward reaching their goal.

In The Alchemist, Santiago falls to several disheartening events, but they enable him to pick himself back up and continue on with the rest of his journey from Andalusia to the pyramids in Egypt. For instance, when Santiago arrives in the market town of Tangier, a thief robs him of his money for his journey, forcing him to seek work at a crystal shop. During his time there, Santiago learns the workings of a business and encourages the merchant to takes risks. These risks eventually pay off and Santiago becomes a rich man in just a year. The true test, however, for Santiago came with the passing of the desert, which is an important symbol in the book. With its harsh conditions and tribal wars, the desert is symbolic of the serious difficulties that await anyone in pursuit of reaching their goal or Personal Legend, but it also serves as an important teacher to Santiago during his journey to the pyramids. More than the desert heat, the desert’s dull and barren state test Santiago, as it diminishes his confidence at times. As Santiago learns, however, he discovers that even the desert contains life and the Soul of the World. Santiago begins to understand his...
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