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Research Paper

711 words - 3 pages

Zachary Pashenee
College Writing/Research
Mr. Kreiner
4/14/11
Critical Analysis
The Alchemist
Paulo Coehlo’s novel “The Alchemist” is a narrative story written in third person omniscient. On the surface, the title may be viewed simply as the title of a key character in the story. However, the title holds a much deeper meaning. The author, in the novel “The Alchemist,” is actually drawing many parallels from the teachings of alchemy and he is applying them to a healthy lifestyle. As you read deeper you discover an ever deeper level of connection as Paulo creates a philosophical map to reach your goals and dreams. Alchemy at its very basic fundamentals is an ancient practice of taking something invaluable and, through change, making it valuable. A teaching that allows insight into a very important life quality: using the resources you have to your advantage.
“When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives ...view middle of the document...

This attitude is the attitude of the Alchemist, a resourceful person who takes advantage of every obstacle in their way. However, not only does The Boy become resourceful, he immerses himself in the quest for his dream.
“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” (23). Once again Paulo delivers a potent bit of alchemist ideals through the story. In the study of alchemy, one must immerse oneself in the world in order to create a more holistic view of things. This holistic view allows the alchemist to fully grasp what the world offers and how to manipulate those resources. In the story, the Boy becomes stranded in Egypt after being robbed when he lands. He begins working at a shop. The Boy stays in this place for a period of about two years. Here he learns of the culture and environment surrounding him, leading him to the treasure in the dream. At the end of the novel, the Boy becomes the wind, another metaphor to the teaching of becoming one with the universe, and soon discovers the treasure was buried at the church where he began the journey originally.
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” (11). What drives one to continue is the belief that one’s goal can be achieved. Alchemists dedicate their life to discover the philosopher’s stone and turn base metals into gold, just as the Boy dedicates his life, after he has the dream, to acquiring the treasure that his mind revealed. “I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now” (132). The Boy does not ever consider what he will do, or why he wants the treasure, but still he goes to the treasure. The author is delivering a potent message: we want to achieve our dreams and ambitions because they are our dreams and ambitions. Wealth is not measured materials, but happiness.
Paulo Coehlo continues to stress the important values that alchemists hold. Being resourceful, being one with the world around you, and living in the present and never looking too far ahead. Evidently, these characteristics are very important to the author. His message

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