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The Alchemist, Book Review Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1531

Book Review

Introduction

The Alchemist‘s author wrote it in 1988. Its initial publication was in Portuguese, though it has been translated to many languages exceeding 70. Generally, the book is short, with a few pages less than 200. Also, the book is an allegory following a young shepherd of Andalusian origin who is on the journey to the Egyptian pyramid. The central theme in the novel is finding purpose and destiny in life by the main character called Santiago. Therefore, the discussion focuses on the book review of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Summary

Santiago arrived with his flock at the abandoned church with no roof. The sycamore had grown at the sacristy position. That is where he was going to sleep. He woke up in the middle of a similar dream he had before and woke up the sheep still asleep to continue the journey. He always thought about the merchant’s daughter, whom he had interacted with a year ago while selling wool, and was eager to meet her again (Coelho 12). On reaching Tarifa, he went to a dream interpreter. The woman asked him to go to the Egyptian Pyramids and find the tressure though he demanded 10% of the tressures. While reading the book outside, Melchizedek, the older man born in Salem, and the old king stood by him and demanded a tenth of his sheep in exchange for dream interpretation. After Santiago gave the sheep, Melchizedek told him to go to the Egyptian pyramids for treasures and follow omens (Coelho 56). Melchizedek gave Santiago black stones and white stones called Thummim and Urim, with the white signifying “no” while the black signifies “yes .”Santiago sold his sheep to pursue his dream.

On arrival in Tangier, thieves robbed him making him work with a crystal merchant from the local area. The merchant taught Santiago some lessons as Santiago encouraged him to take some business risks. Santiago joined a caravan heading to Egypt via the Sahara Desert, where he met an Englishman pursuing his studies to be an alchemist. After interaction with the Englishman, he learned a lot, including the alchemy secrete written on an Emerald Tablet stone (Coelho 97). Alchemy creation is the masterwork consisting of Philosophers’ solid stone, which had the potential of turning lead into gold and Elixir liquid for curing illness. The Alchemist resided in Al-Fayoum, and the Englishman was headed there. He planned on asking the Alchemist about his trade secret. Their caravan had to make an extended stop in Al-Fayoum to avoid the desert’s increased tribal, violent wars. Santiago fell in love with an oasis girl called Fatima. Besides, Santiago witnessed an omen portending an attack on a historical natural oasis (Coelho 122). He warned the chieftains about the attack enabling Al-Fayoum to defend itself successfully.

The Alchemist learned of the vision by this boy Santiago. The two set on a trip, enlightening Santiago on pursuing personal legend. Santiago left the caravan, including Fatima, and resumed his journey with the Alchemist volunteering to accompany him (Coelho 137). The Alchemist shared more wisdom with Santiago about the world’s soul. Arab soldiers captured them when they were some few days to the pyramids. The Alchemist handed Santiago’s money to the tribe in exchange for their lives and warned these soldiers about Santiago’s power as he would turn into wind within three days. Santiago never had an idea of turning into the wind, and these sentiments worried him. He communicated to the wind and the sun and requested a tremendous sandstorm. Santiago continued to pray. Soon he disappeared into the storm. Later on, he reappeared on the other side. Tribe men cherished Santiago’s ability and hence let them go free. Santiago and the Alchemist continued with their journey. As they continued with the journey, the Alchemist demonstrated how he could turn lead and end up with gold using Philosopher’s stone (Coelho 146). The Alchemist sent Santiago off after giving him some gold.

At the pyramids’ foot, Santiago started digging tressures, though two men accosted and beat him, bruising him, which increased his bleeding. Santiago narrated to them his dream. They did not see the need for Santiago to have money since they felt he was dying soon after beating him. The man who appeared like the leader decided to leave Santiago since he seemed like he had nothing, and he thought he had stolen the gold in his possession (Coelho 157). The leader told Santiago that they were leaving though he was not dying. The leader told Santiago that he had dreamt about the same tressures two years ago at the same spot. In his dream, the tressure’s location was in Spain at a ruined church where a shepherd slept. He was to dig the root of the sycamore to get the tressure. Though he termed the dream useless, he would not travel over a dream. Soon, they disappeared. Santiago reached the abandoned church in the evening with a shovel. The following day he started digging. After digging for some time, he retrieved Spanish gold coins (Coelho 162). Also, he found jewels embedding stone statues, white and red feathers adorning gold masks, and precious stones. He placed Thummim and Urim in his chest, reminding him of the old king. The levanter wind reminded him of Fatima, and the story ends with Santiago promising to go for Fatima.  

Critique

Generally, The Alchemist is an amazing book, and its storytelling is quite beautiful. The book has an impeccable choice of words with more wisdom, but, again, the soul’s depth behind the author’s words spins the magic within the novel. I loved the entire book, including its flow (Coelho 17). The storyline is extremely enchanting and is full of optimistic events which are so encouraging and useful in humankind’s life. Through the book, the readers can understand that the journey to our destiny is vital, just like the destiny itself. Also, from the book, I realized that human beings need to have faith and risk everything to achieve their destiny, just like Santiago risked it all, including his sheep, to achieve his destiny (Coelho 62). Also, Paulo presented insightful ideas concerning the destiny of an individual. It includes rising above all sorts of failure.

Furthermore, as human beings, there is a need to have hope and be spiritual, as all of these will help us achieve our destiny. The novel appeals to all readers since everyone has a dream, and all we need is someone to encourage and motivate us to achieve these dreams (Coelho 63). In addition, the universe will always conspire with anyone who needs to achieve anything. The phrase repeated itself, and it says it all. Santiago’s struggle met some mysterious help and shortcomings that helped him achieve his destiny. The Alchemist is clear that if anyone wishes to reach their biggest goals and fulfill them, they need to follow their personal legend. Melchizedek uses the personal legend when explaining to Santiago what he needed to do to get his tressures. After that, Santiago decided to follow the personal legend of the pyramids. He first sold his sheep on set on to Tangier. Though he encountered obstacles, he was able to overcome them.   Anyone reading the book will automatically escape reality, but at the same time, they will understand the reality. From a personal understanding of The Alchemist, people have the potential to offer the best of all the worlds. The novel’s events sit on the miraculous borderline, and the ambiance is not just the humdrum world of teenage (Coelho 114). Though, The Alchemists supplies inspirations and insights extending beyond Santiago and the Saharan journey into the lives of all people, whether teenage, young, or old.

Furthermore, there is a need to avoid being afraid if anyone wishes to do away with barriers pulling them behind. When Santiago arrived at Tangier, he did not know their language or culture (Coelho 155). As a result, someone stole his money. He almost lost hope and wished to turn back, but he paid attention to the omens and continued his journey. Besides, The Alchemist teaches us to rise many times than we fail. Santiago interacted with the Englishman who narrated to him about the Alchemist. Through his ability to foresee an attack, he attracted the Alchemist’s attention, making him teach and mentor Santiago (Coelho 157). The Alchemist may not be an individual and regular fiction book, though it is necessary to have it on our bookshelves.

Conclusion

Decisively, The Alchemist is an interesting and encouraging book featuring a shepherd, Santiago. The storyline is interesting through its new settings and the introduction of new characters in the entire book. Generally, the book is unpredictable since it is not easy to tell what will happen next as events keep changing. For instance, the main focus was visiting the merchant, selling the wool, and talking to his daughter. However, the whole idea changed after meeting the lady who could interpret the dream and Melchizedek at Tarifa. Besides, the book is a life enhancer through its inspirations after meeting different people. Finally, reading the book offers a different outlook on the world, including looking for omens, listening to individual hearts, feeling, and embracing the soul.

Work Cited

Coelho, Paulo. “The Alchemist, trans. Alan R. Clarke.” (1998). 1-163.

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