The Alchemist

Topics: Paulo Coelho, Novel, Egyptian pyramids Pages: 11 (2498 words) Published: September 28, 2010


"A Fable About Following Your Dreams."

By Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

I. Life of the Author

Paulo Coelho was born on 1947, Brazilian writer, best known for mystical fables told in simple yet symbolic language. He has received wide popular acclaim both in Brazil and internationally for his work about spiritual quests of self-discovery. Written in Portuguese, Coelho’s books have been translated into many languages. Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Concerned with his teenage rebelliousness and desire to be a writer, his parents sent him to a mental institution, where he received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In 1970 Coelho dropped out of law school and traveled around South America, North America, and Europe. He returned to Brazil in 1972 and wrote lyrics for several songs that became popular in that country. Two years later he was arrested by the military for alleged antigovernment activity. Following his release Coelho became a recording executive for CBS Records in Brazil, but after losing his job in 1980 he resumed his nomadic lifestyle. During this period Coelho explored different religions and renewed his interest in writing. In 1986 he took a pilgrimage on foot along the Road to Santiago, a grueling journey over an ancient highway in northwestern Spain. During his 56-day pilgrimage Coelho had a spiritual awakening that formed the basis for much of his ensuing work. Shortly afterward he wrote O diário de um mago (1986; The Diary of a Magus, 1992; re-released as The Pilgrimage, 1995), a philosophical narrative of his experiences on the trip. In 1988 he published O Alquimista (1988; The Alchemist, 1993), a short novel about a Spanish shepherd boy whose search for material treasure leads him instead to the riches of his own heart. The book became a publishing phenomenon, topping the bestseller lists in over 35 countries. A recurring concept in Coelho’s books is the personal legend, in which his characters follow their dreams and pursue paths of self-discovery. Though they meet hardships along the

The Alchemist

way, only by staying true to their dreams can they achieve spiritual fulfillment. Coelho uses simple, clear language to blend religious and philosophical concepts in his work. Other fictional works by Coelho include the 1994 novel Na margem do rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, 1996), an exploration of physical and divine love and the feminine side of God; La quinta montaña (The Fifth Mountain, 1998), a book of historical fiction about the biblical prophet Elijah; Veronika decide morrer (1998; Veronika Decides to Die, 1999), a novel loosely based on Coelho’s experiences in mental institutions; and the novel O demônio e a Srta. Prym (The Devil and Miss Prym, 2000), about good and evil in a fictional small town. Coelho has also written the nonfiction work As Valkírias (1992; The Valkyries, 1995), about a desert quest made by himself and his wife. II. Vocabulary Words

a. Levanter – a strong easterly wind that blows in the western Mediterranean area, especially in the late summer.

b. Daggers- a short pointed knife used as a weapon.

c. Omens- a prophetic sign.

d. Cobbler- a shoemaker.

e. Hookah- a water pipe for smoking.

The Alchemist

III. Overview of the Novel

The Alchemist is a very exciting novel, through the adventures that the main character has surpassed; we can say that it shows excitement. It also shows optimism, that we can do all the things that we’ve wanted if we really desire of it. It teaches us that everything we need to know, we learned it through our own journey.

The novel is all about a boy named Santiago who desire to interpret his dreams about the Egyptian Pyramids. He wanted to know what does really a Personal Legend means. Through his journey of finding the treasure he was able to meet, a gypsy woman who interpreted his dream,...
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