The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is an inspiring story about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who traveled from his home in Spain to Egypt in search of treasure buried in the pyramids. Santiago has to take risks that no one would ever take. No one knows what the treasure is, not even Santiago and no one knows if Santiago will make this out alive. Along the way, Santiago meets people that teach him the importance of following your heart and dreams.
Santiago is the main character; he is a shepherd in Spain that travels to Egypt in pursuit of his Personal Legend, which is to find treasure at the Egyptian Pyramids. Santiago wants to learn all there is to learn about the world. As the story goes on, Santiago learns and understands the mystical force that connects the world. Santiago is an example of a life that is full of risks that are worth taking and what happens when you follow your heart. Melchizedek, the King of Salem, tells Santiago to go follow his Personal Legend and go to Egypt. Melchizedek tells Santiago about Personal Legends, the soul of the World, Beginner’s Luck, and omens. Melchizedek gives Santiago magical stones, Urim and Thummim, which represent “yes” and “no”. The stones help guide Santiago through his journey in Tangier, Africa. The next character Santiago meets is the crystal merchant. The crystal merchant owns a crystal shop on a desolate hill that was once popular but lost most of its business. The crystal merchant hired Santiago to work in his shop and helps Santiago realize that he needs to follow his own Personal Legend. The crystal merchant never followed his own Personal Legend and refuses to because he is scared of change. The crystal merchant is an example of a life that is unfulfilled. Santiago then meets the Englishman in a warehouse. The Englishman is also on pursuit of his Personal Legend. The Englishman is very well educated and loves to read his books. The Englishman knows a lot about Alchemy. His Personal Legend is to find the alchemist and learn from him. Although the Englishman inspires Santiago to continue to pursue his Personal Legend, he is an example as of why even though reading books to learn is beneficial; one should not rely on it solely. One could learn even more through experience and action. While helping the Englishman look for the alchemist, Santiago runs into a beautiful woman at a well. The woman’s name is Fatima. Santiago instantly falls in love with her. They begin to meet each other at that same well everyday to talk. Fatima convinces Santiago to continue on his pursuit of his Personal Legend. She tells him that she is a woman of the desert and women of the desert are used to their men leaving them for a long period of time. Fatima trusts that if Santiago loves her, he’ll come back to her. Fatima appears to have no Personal Legend of her own. In the oasis, Santiago encounters the alchemist; the same supposedly 200-year-old alchemist that the Englishman is searching for. The alchemist is very powerful and lives in the Al-Fayoum oasis. He understands the Soul of the World and the importance of Personal Legends. The alchemist owns the Philosopher’s Stone, which is able to turn any metal into gold, and the Elixir of Life, which is able to cure all illness. The alchemist possesses magical powers and serves as a mentor to Santiago. The alchemist speaks in riddles which helps Santiago teach and transform himself by listening to his heart and to his environment.
The main theme of The Alchemist is to listen to your heart. Learn to read good and bad omens that appear in your life and to follow your dreams. Don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of your dreams. The treasure that you are searching for won’t always be gold and it won’t always be at the place you suspect it to be. The book takes place mostly in Spain and Egypt. In the beginning of the book, Santiago is found with his sheep, resting at an abandoned church....