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Alchemist

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Alchemist Written by Paulo Coelho

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Alchemist

  1. 1. Paulo Coelho
  2. 2. THE ALCHEMIST Paulo Coelho author Novel type of work Fiction genre Portuguese language 1988, Brazil time and place written 1988 date of first publication The original publisher was a small Brazilian publishing house; Rocco, another Brazilian publishing company, was the first large publisher to print the book. Harper One is the American Publisher. publisher
  3. 3. . . .
  4. 4. As it happens in most of the cases; Paulo’s parents had very different plans for their son’s future. They wanted him to be an engineer and tried to stifle his desires to devote himself to literature. Their intransigence and his discovery of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer aroused Paulo’s spirit of rebellion, and he began routinely to flout the family rules routinely. His father took this behavior as a sign of mental illness and, when Paulo was seventeen, he twice had him admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where Paulo underwent several sessions of electroconvulsive therapy.
  5. 5. Shortly after this, Paulo became involved with a theatre group and began working as a journalist. In the eyes of the comfortably-off middle class Christian family in Brazil of that time, the theatre was a hotbed of lose immorality. His frightened parents decided to break their promise not to confine him again and had him readmitted to hospital for the third time. When he came out, Paulo was even more lost and more enclosed in his own private world. In despair, the family called in another doctor who told them: Paulo isn’t mad and he shouldn’t be in a psychiatric hospital. He simply has to learn how to face up to life.
  6. 6. After this period, Paulo returned to his studies and it looked as if he was finally going to follow the route his parents had prepared for him. But unluckily for the parents, this period happened to be in the sixties, and the hippie movement had exploded onto the world scene. Paulo wore his hair long and made a point of never carrying his identity card; for a time, he took drugs, wanting to live the hippie experience to the full. His passion for writing drove him to start a magazine, of which only two issues were ever published.
  7. 7. Around this time, the musician and composer, Raul Seixas invited Paulo to write the words of his songs. Their second record was a huge success and sold more than 500,000 copies. This was the first time Paulo had earned a large amount of money.
  8. 8. Around this time, the musician and composer, Raul Seixas invited Paulo to write the words of his songs. Their second record was a huge success and sold more than 500,000 copies. This was the first time Paulo had earned a large amount of money.
  9. 9. In the midst of the ‘70s Paulo decided that he had had enough experience of ‘life’ and wanted to be ‘normal’. He got a job at the record company, PolyGram, where he met the woman who would later become his wife. But this didn’t last for a very long period of time. But, as we could imagine, fix jobs were not for him.
  10. 10. In 1987 Paulo wrote his first book, The Pilgrimage. He then wrote The Alchemist in 1988. He is now a renowned book writer but he also writes for various newspapers. Paulo and his wife Christina now live in between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and in Tarbes, France.
  11. 11. Contemporary Literature is a vast group of written works produced from a specific time in history through the current age. this literary era defines a time period but is also describes a particular style and quality of writing. Some see it as an extension of postmodern literature, but most refer to it as a literary era of its own.
  12. 12. Most agree that the era of contemporary writing began in the 1940's. A few scholars claim this period started at the end of world war II, and this is where the era's pairing with postmodern literature comes in. The postmodern era began after WWII, in the 1940's and lasted through 1960's. The contemporary period extends to the current day.
  13. 13. Typical characteristics of the contemporary period include reality-based stories with strong characters and believable stories. Settings usually keep to the current or modern era, so futuristic and science fiction novels are rarely included in this category. Well-defined realistic, and highly developed characters are important in classifying a written work as contemporary, and most writing in this category features stories that are more character driven than plot driven.
  14. 14. While sleeping near a sycamore tree in the sacristy of an abandoned church, Santiago, a shepherd boy, has a recurring dream about a child who tells him that he will find a hidden treasure if he travels to the Egyptian pyramids. An old woman tells Santiago that this dream is prophetic and that he must follow its instructions. Santiago is uncertain, however, since he enjoys the life of a shepherd. Next Santiago meets a mysterious old man who seems able to read his mind. This man introduces himself as Melchizedek, or the King of Salem. He tells Santiago about good and bad omens and says that it is the shepherd boy's duty to pursue his Personal Legend. Melchizedek then gives Santiago two stones, Urim and Thummim, with which to interpret omens.
  15. 15. Santiago wavers briefly before selling his flock and purchasing a ticket to Tangier, in northern Africa, to which he travels by boat. Shortly after he arrives there, a thief steals all of Santiago's money, so the shepherd boy decides to look for a way to make enough money to return home. He finds work in the shop of a crystal merchant, where Santiago makes improvements that reap considerable financial rewards. After eleven months of working in the shop, Santiago is unsure of how to proceed. Should he return to Andalusia a rich man and buy more sheep? Or should he cross the vast Sahara in pursuit of the hidden treasure of his dreams? He joins a caravan traveling to Egypt.
  16. 16. Santiago meets an Englishman who wants to learn the secret of alchemy, or turning any metal into gold, from a famous alchemist who lives at an oasis on the way to the pyramids. While traveling, Santiago begins listening to the desert and discovering the Soul of the World. The caravan eventually reaches the oasis, and there Santiago meets an Arab girl named Fatima and falls in love with her instantly. The caravan leader gathers the travelers together and tells them that tribal warfare prevents them from continuing their journey. Santiago wanders from the oasis into the desert and, seeing two hawks fighting in the sky, has a vision of an army entering the oasis.
  17. 17. Because attacking an oasis is a violation of the rules of the desert, Santiago shares his vision with the oasis's tribal chieftain. Soon afterward, Santiago is confronted by a black- garbed, veiled stranger with a sword, who sits atop a white horse. It is the alchemist. The tribal chieftain arms his men, and they are well-prepared when the oasis is indeed invaded. The alchemist offers to cross the desert with Santiago. Soon the two men enter into an area of intense tribal warfare. Warriors hold the two men captive, but eventually allow them to continue their journey.
  18. 18. The alchemist tells Santiago that he needs to return to the oasis, and that the rest of the trip is Santiago's to make alone so that he can claim his Personal Legend. Santiago arrives at the Egyptian pyramids and begins to dig. He finds nothing buried in the ground. Thieves beat Santiago and rob him of his money. After he tells them of his dream, though, one of the thieves recounts his own dream about a buried treasure in the sacristy of an abandoned church. Returning to Andalusia, Santiago goes back to the church where he dreamed of the treasure near the pyramids. He digs where he slept, beneath a sycamore tree, and there it is: Santiago's treasure.
  19. 19. The main plot of the alchemist takes place in the Spanish pastures, the Spanish town of Tarifa, the city of Tangier in North Africa, and the Sahara desert.
  20. 20. The Alchemist is set in an indistinct time in the past. It is clearly a pre- modern time, before automobiles and most modern technology existed.
  21. 21. The major conflict of the book is Santiago’s personal tension between completing his Personal Legend to travel all the way to Egypt to find a treasure at the pyramids and settling along the way for the treasures he has already earned.
  22. 22. The Centrality of Personal Legends
  23. 23. The Unity of Nature
  24. 24. The Danger of Fear
  25. 25. Santiago’s sheep symbolize the sort of existence lived by those who are completely blind to their Personal Legends. Santiago loves his sheep, but he also expresses thinly veiled disrespect for them because of their animal desires for mere food and water. Santiago discovers during his travels.
  26. 26. Also, in a disturbing image, he imagines that his sheep are so blindly trusting that he could kill them one by one without them noticing. These sheep symbolize the characters in the book like the baker and the crystal merchant who do not pursue their Personal Legends. Like the sheep, these characters content themselves with their material desires and social acceptance.
  27. 27. Accordingly, they lose the ability to appreciate certain aspects of creation, and tend to miss out on many opportunities because of their limited perspectives.
  28. 28. Alchemy, in which a base metal is transformed into a more valuable metal like gold, functions as the dominant symbol in The Alchemist and represents Santiago’s journey to achieve his Personal Legend. The symbol also gives the novel its title. The Alchemist describes the process of turning base metal to gold as equivalent to the base metal realizing its Personal Legend.
  29. 29. The desert, with its harsh conditions and tribal wars, symbolizes the serious difficulties that await anyone in pursuit of their Personal Legend, but it also serves as an important teacher to Santiago during his journey to the pyramids. As the alchemist puts it, tests are an inherent part of all Personal Legends, because they are necessary to create spiritual growth. More than the desert heat, the desert’s
  30. 30. silence, emptiness, and monotony test Santiago. As Santiago learns, however, even the desert, despite appearing barren, contains life and the Soul of the World. Santiago begins to understand his environment, and to see the signs of life in what seems to be a wasteland. Eventually he learns to recognize all of creation in a single grain of sand, and in the greatest test he faces during the book, he finds he is able to enlist the desert in his effort to become the wind.
  31. 31. …whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth."
  32. 32. “My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy confides to the alchemist one night as they look up at a moonless night. “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself” said the alchemist. – (Alchemist)
  33. 33. The message of the book is that, each one of us has a dream given to us by God and He gives us clues times again and again so that we recognize those clues ( ‘omens’ as he calls them) and follow these dreams with great zeal. The purpose of our lives is to discover our destinies and follow them. No matter how hard the challenges that will come on our way, we should never give up. Just follow our heart, follow our desire.

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