The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janiero in 1947 and before his career as abest-selling author, he was a playwright, theater director, hippie, and popularsongwriter for some of Brazil’s leading pop artists. In 1986 he took apilgrimage along that Road of Santiago and this would be the center of theplot of the book, The Pilgrimage, which was published in 1987. His secondbook was named The Alchemist and was published in 1988. This book hasgone to number one in 29 countries and Coelho has been regarded as the mostwidely read contemporary writers. The Alchemist was one of the top teninternational best sellers of 1998. His work has been published in more than100 countries and is translated into 42 different languages. He has beenawarded a variety of prestigious awards from many different countries. Hetoday lives in South America with his family.

The story begins when the shepherd boy stopped for the night in achurch with a sycamore tree growing out of the middle. He told of the easygoing life of the shepherd and how his parents had wanted him to become apriest. He went to all the schooling, but at the last minute he changed hismind. He wanted to see the world and he felt that the best way to do this wasto become a shepherd. He said that the life of a shepherd is easy and carefreeand he felt like this was the way he wanted to live. He was anticipating seeingthe daughter of a man who would buy the wool from his sheep when hearrived in the town that he would come to in another couple of days. Hethought that he might actually settle down and get married to this girl if shewould like to. He had been having a recurring dream about him at thepyramids in Egypt. There he would be able to find all of the treasure in theworld and to realize what would come to be called his personal legend.

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When he reached the next town he went to the fortuneteller and askedher if she could help him out with is problem. She was unclear about what todo, but she made him promise to give him a percentage of his treasure if heever found it. When he left the fortuneteller, he went and sat in the park toread his new book. He was not in the mood for talking with others when theold king approached him and tried to strike up a conversation with him. Hetold the boy that everyone has a personal legend that he has to fulfill at sometime in his life. He tells him that his could be found at the pyramids becauseof the dreams that he has been having lately. He tells him that he will help him if he will give him ten percent of his herd, because you should neverpromise anything that you don’t have yet. He sold all of his sheep and he wasgiven ummim and thummim, the two rocks that would help him make anydecisions that he was unable to make. Then off he went down the road and traveled to the northern tip ofAfrica. From there he left with all of his money in his pocket and set to a barwhere he didn’t speak the same language as any of the people there. He wastaken for a fool and all of his money was taken in the first few hours. Hestayed in the town for a while and he went into a shop that sold crystal. Hehelped the man to clean all of the crystal and while he was there, two peoplecame in and bought crystal. The owner thought that this was a good omen andthat he should try to keep the boy around. Since he didn’t have any money hestayed on for eleven months and greatly improved the man’s shop. When hefinally left he had enough money to do with what he wanted and he set off tofulfill his personal legend. He traveled to the pyramids by way of northernAfrica. About half way through his trip he came onto an oasis that was in themiddle of a war between two native tribes. The rules of war said that theoasis should be a safe haven for all of the people that were traveling throughthe desert. This is where he met the alchemist, the man that would help him torealize his personal legend. By going off into the desert at night, he learned allabout the masterwork and the many things that he needed to do in order tobecome a true alchemist. He began to have a dream about a group of rebelsattacking the oasis because they thought that the travelers would be taking uparms against them. The boy went to the men who were in charge of the oasisand told them of the impending doom that was coming onto the oasis. Theydidn’t believe that this dream was an omen but they gave him one shot. Therebels did attack and they were able to fend off all of the assailants. The boywas hailed as a hero and he went off into the desert to seek his personallegend. Here he was forced to make a decision about whether or not to leavebehind the woman that he met and decided to marry. He said that he wouldreturn later and he did. This was after he found out about the treasure heyearned for. He finally figured out that his treasure was in the sycamore treethat was growing out of the middle of an old church. He returned to hishomeland and had his treasure intact and was able to live happily ever after. The shepard was able to live happily ever after because of theexperiences that shaped his life. He went through many things on his trip anddiscovered that his life was his treasure. The beauty of the world was hispersonal legend not some chest of gold. These events changed his out look onlife into a loving respecting one from the normal greedy and intolerble one.

This man started out to find all of the treasure that this world had, but endedup finding only the treasure he had inside. He went from being a dreamer to ahumbled being only capable of loving life for what it was. He was no longerintrested in being the wealthiest man; he was only intrested in being himself.

In this way he was the richest man and the happiest as well.

This book showed many of the values we as humans place uponmaterialistic objects. I believe that instead of placing value on that of gold,we should place value on that of life, love and happiness. This should be allthat matters and all that exists. Money is the root of all evil and humans onlyadd to that by never realizing its true impact on life. The poorest people ormany times richer than the wealthiest. Why do we continue to work towardsbeing rich when we already are? If as human beings we could look pastdifferences and stature we would better the world as a whole. This issomething everyone needs to try. I know that if I could just change a smallamount of my thinking into this manner I would become a better person. Notonly to others but to myself as well.

Bibliography:The Alchemist:by Paul Coelho

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