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Alchemist

In: English and Literature

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------------------------------------------------- a spiritual gem

With nearly two million copies sold around the world, this wonderful fable is becoming recognized for what it is—one of the truly great charmers of the late twentieth century. It's like a surprisingly cool sea breeze coming over the desert in the evening. The innocence and charm of this fable are comparable to Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but The Alchemistis more humorous, more spiritual, and wiser. This is the story of Santiago, a wanderlust shepherd boy in Spain, who decides to act upon a dream he has one night—of discovering a buried treasure at the Pyramids of Egypt.
Santiago's journey is not easy, but his humility, faith, and simplicity are simply unshakable. In fact, he is so naïve (in the best way possible) that it does not seem to occur to him that he could be shaken. Reading it, I was reminded of something Søren Kierkegaard wrote regarding spiritual warfare:
One thing there is which all Satan's cunning and all the snares of temptation cannot take by surprise, and that is simplicity.
After Santiago has his dream, he is soon visited by Melchizedek, the mysterious King of Salem, who tells him that soon after someone embarks upon the path of their destiny, all the Universe conspires to help them, but only for a little while. Soon after embarking upon a trip to Africa, his money is gone and he must struggle, as almost all of us do, with precariously balancing his material needs against not losing sight of his dream and his destiny. I don't want to give too much away, but Santiago does a much better job than most of us. He never confuses the good for the best, in spite of all temptations to fear, anger, hardships, contentment, pride in achievements, and other distractions that successfully derail most of us from pursuing our callings. Santiago's weapons are not "determination," but trust, not willpower, but fascination, and not strength, but wonder.
One of most poignant passages comes after Santiago leaves a comfortable oasis in Egypt, (and his new love) to attend to his dream once more. As he pauses in the desert, a horseman dressed in black rushes him, with a scimitar raised to kill. Instead of fleeing or or attempting to fight, Santiago bows his head for the blow, ready to accept even death as a gift of the adventure. His steadiness has become what St. Francis of Assisi called "perfect joy," a joy that is totally independent of any kind of circumstance on earth, being rooted so strongly in faith.
The Alchemist is profoundly spiritual without being preachy in any way. Anyone who reads it will be impressed that this is a spiritual metaphor, an extended parable about searching for our true heart's desire, the gold that lies buried within our own souls. It is interesting to compare this book with the more popular Celestine Prophecy. I see Coelho's little gem as being everything the latter book should have been, but wasn't.

The Celestine ProphecyThe Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your DreamCoincidences don't exist; all things are part of a pattern.Omens are gifts; all things are part of a family.Mankind is evolving; it's our destiny.We can choose to find our destinies.Miraculous powers can be gained by diligent application of hidden insightsMiracles can be worked by discovering your identity in the soul of GodLight bulb coming on.Heart warming up.A journey to solve a mystery.A journey to discover a treasure.Bad guys can thwart your growth to a "higher vibration"Not even death can harm you if you truly trust the Author of your destiny.Knowledge is the ticketSingleness of heart is the ticket

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...The Alchemist is a very convincing and exhilarating book that tells us about following our dreams and taking them to the very end. This novel tells us to leave our boring, everyday lives, risk everything we have, and pursue our “personal legends.” It emphasizes and elucidates the fact that most people in this world want to be told that all their dreams and desires are to come true sooner or later, but Coelho states that in order for them to actually come true we have to struggle and strive to make our fantasies a reality. This compelling story is about Santiago, a normal shepherd boy, who is indeed, a dreamer. He dreams of finding great treasures and becoming rich, but he just doesn’t know where to start achieving his “personal legend.” Then, just when he was about to give up, Santiago met a very wise man that told him to listen to the omens, and he realized that these omens, good or bad, were all around him. He now knew that on your pursuit of your dreams, the universe and everything that surrounds it would do everything to help you accomplish your “personal legend.” We all believe that the universe is against us in our quest to make our dreams come true, but this novel tells us that if we just strive hard towards our goals, everything will work out in the very end. As Santiago started heading towards the desert, where he was destined to be, he faced eminent challenges and obstacles that he was yet to overcome. That is another thing that Coelho was trying to......

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...The Alchemist : Journal Entry #1 When the book began with the character’s name, Santiago, I was somewhat skeptical. I thought that the entire story may have been poorly written, given that translations aren’t always perfect due to grammatical differences between languages. But only within the first few moments of reading I found myself immersed into a simple and short, yet gripping, story of a young-adult’s search for destiny. When the author introduced Santiago as a shepherd travelling the land in search of nothing but a simple life, I was confused as of where he may be going with the story. When he mentions a merchant’s daughter that he has a slight infatuation with, I expected your typical love story: the boy meets a girl, the boy likes the girl, the boy tries to impress the girl, they find a mutual interest in each other, the boy makes a mistake, the girl gets upset, the boy tries to apologize, the apology is usually accepted, and then happily ever after. There may be a twist thrown somewhere in there, but nothing to get too excited about. Anyways, Santiago’s journey leads him far from that. It struck my interest that it turned out to be a philosophical writing, rather than a romance. The realism of Santiago as a character is great compared to some other readings. He provides me with someone I can surprisingly relate to. I didn’t think there would be much relation between me and a Spanish shepherd from maybe 500+ years ago. His decisions remind me that we are all still......

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...The Alchemist is a very convincing and exhilarating book that tells us about following our dreams and taking them to the very end. This novel tells us to leave our boring, everyday lives, risk everything we have, and pursue our “personal legends.” It emphasizes and elucidates the fact that most people in this world want to be told that all their dreams and desires are to come true sooner or later, but Coelho states that in order for them to actually come true we have to struggle and strive to make our fantasies a reality. This compelling story is about Santiago, a normal shepherd boy, who is indeed, a dreamer. He dreams of finding great treasures and becoming rich, but he just doesn’t know where to start achieving his “personal legend.” Then, just when he was about to give up, Santiago met a very wise man that told him to listen to the omens, and he realized that these omens, good or bad, were all around him. He now knew that on your pursuit of your dreams, the universe and everything that surrounds it would do everything to help you accomplish your “personal legend.” We all believe that the universe is against us in our quest to make our dreams come true, but this novel tells us that if we just strive hard towards our goals, everything will work out in the very end. As Santiago started heading towards the desert, where he was destined to be, he faced eminent challenges and obstacles that he was yet to overcome. That is another thing that Coelho was trying to......

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