This captivating novel The Alchemist is about a young shepherd boy, named Santiago, living in Spain. The book is a tale of quest about self fulfilment. He experiences love, turmoil, danger and sadness throughout his journeys. It is important to have the courage to follow your dreams despite the obstacles which life puts in our way. There are three barriers through which the protagonist must travel in order to find his treasure: fear of hurting those he loves, dealing with the reality of success, and love versus his dream.
The Alchemist is a book about following your dream, something that fills us with enthusiasm. Initially the boy gave up the priesthood to become a shepherd so that he could travel. His father reluctantly gave him his blessing: “The boy could see in his father’s gaze a desire to be able, himself, to travel the world – a desire that was still alive, despite his father’s having had to bury it…”(Coelho #10) Author believes we all have a path to follow but we sometimes do not follow our heart’s desire. The urge never leaves us, we simply ignore it, bury it and let it haunt us, leading to a general dissatisfaction with life. It is important that each of us identify our desires because when we die our spirit never dies. We should never stop striving for dreams that we had once. It is the manifestation of our soul purpose, the reason for being on earth. The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.
The Alchemist is written as a traditional quest plot. A quest is essentially a search for something which is usually long and difficult. We all identify with quest stories where the hero becomes a wiser person because of what they have experienced during the quest. His first set-back is when he trusted a complete stranger blindly who his money was stolen: “He wept because God was unfair, and because this was the way God repaid those who believed in their dreams.”(Coelho #39) This outflow shows that while the boy is brave to undertake the quest he is also sensitive. The shepherd weeps because he feels all hope is lost, and that God has cursed him. This is a way that many people feel in day to day life. They view tragedies as God letting them down, when in reality, they are just obstacles and steeping stones on a long journey. For many of us it seems life is unfair and, despite our best efforts, we fail to achieve our goal. Learning to cope with failure is an important issue in life. The author emphasises his message that we all have a journey to take in life and that if we take a path which is not ultimately for us, it is not hopeless. We can always change direction, as long as we are willing to take risks and be brave.
Along the journey the boy falls in love: he is tempted not to continue. ‘“I want to stay at the oasis,” the boy answered. “I’ve found Fatima, and, as far as I’m concerned, she’s worth more than treasure.”(Coelho #115) Delaying a quest with a love interest is fairly standard practice. Coelho added this part to illustrate his belief that love should encourage and support an individual in their search for their heart’s desire not stop them from pursuing their dreams. When the boy leaves Fatima to pursue his journey the Alchemist wisely remarks that, “If what one finds is of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.” Love is such a powerful emotion and support to our success and happiness in life that it is easy to mistake lust for love because loving and being loved is a basic human instinct. The author believes true love can survive separation and that if you truly love someone you always have their best interests at heart.
The Alchemist is an amazing book that touched me deeply. It helps people conquer their fears and search the world to achieve their dreams, it certainly made me wants to evolve my dreams by becoming more focused and determined on my goals. As the author said “When you want something, the whole Universe conspires to help you realize your dream.”(Coelho #22)
A Fable on pursuing your own dreams
18th May, 2012
“The boy could see in his father’s gaze a desire to be able, himself, to travel the world – a desire that was still alive, despite his father’s having had to bury it…”(Coelho #10) I choose this picture because Santiago dad’s dream is enclosed in the pendent. There’s a star sign that means dreams or someone’s desire is already written on their stars but now it depends on their determination if they want to fulfil it or give up.
“He wept because God was unfair, and because this was the way God repaid those who believed in their dreams.”(Coelho #39) I choose this picture because there’s a guy who left behind because of his colour (racism). That’s not fair because the guy trusted them and now because of his race, he’s been ignored.
“I’ve found Fatima, and, as far as I’m concerned, she’s worth more than treasure.”(Coelho #115) Without love, according to The Alchemist, our lives are incomplete. Once Santiago discovers unconditional love in the person of Fatima, however, there is little he cannot accomplish. I choose this picture because they both were deeply in love and like a phoenix bird, their love was immortal.