“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – The Alchemist
Speaking absolutely technically, Alchemy is the medieval art of transmutation of matter. An alchemist is a person who practices such art. Who turns metals into gold. To put in simpler words, chemistry, and a chemist. If we were to read textbooks, such straightforward words and explanations are used. But this is the world of literature. And in such a world, the simple yet metaphoric gestures in a novel sometimes becomes an inspiration for hundreds. Such is The Alchemist
At the surface of the novel
A combination of Adventure, fantasy, and quest, that is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The book is a depiction of adapting to life as it comes. While doing so, facing all the obstacles that come along. Sounds similar to any adventure book right? That is in fact not the case. The Alchemist has its fair share of fiction and fantasy. But the best part of the book is that it has a touch of simplicity.
While reading, one would not like to stop reading because of the quests. At the same time, a sense of comfort and relaxation resides within. It is the wholesomeness of the novel that piques the interest of many. Mostly those who do not like to read a cliffhanger.
About the author
Paolo Coelho is originally a Brazillian lyricist and novelist, best known for his novel ‘The Alchemist’. Questions may arise at this point regarding why a lyricist would choose to become a writer as well. His original intent in life was to become a first-rate writer. Unfortunately due to childhood circumstances and his parent’s advice, he made an attempt at pursuing Law.
He later quit pursuing Law and went off to live an adventure of his own. He traveled across Mexico,
Europe, South America, and North Africa. After his return to Brazil, he started his career as a songwriter. At that point, his lyrics were not accepted as they were considered to be dangerous and subversive. He then went on to pursue his career in theatre and then finally the author that he was meant to be all along.
Paolo’s writing career began in 1982. He published 2 books which were then not produced in large. In 1988 he had his big breakthrough with The Alchemist. At first, only 90 copies were sold. Paolo reached out to a bigger publishing house. After which his fame took roots.
“And when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”
Santiago, a simple young shepherd boy, often dreams about a child who prophesied that he shall find a secret hidden treasure deep within the Egyptian Pyramids. In his dream, the child foretells him that he will go off on a journey to find his treasure. On further consultation with an old woman, it is confirmed that the dream is in fact a prophecy and that he must imminently set out for his destined journey.
Although he is a young enthusiastic boy he is uncertain about his future. Just like any fearful adult. Santiago decides to set off on this expedition to follow this prophecy despite the love for his life as a shepherd. This is where his journey to follow his predestined path begins.
While pursuing his path, Santiago meets a lot of people who help mold him to reach his final destination. Not all his encounters were pleasant. Most of them came across as extremely ruthless. Going to the extent of beating him to a pulp and robbing him.
By the end of the novel, the protagonist and the readers have a sense of completion when Santiago fulfills his dreams.
Impact and Relevance
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
The eloquent writing, coherence of events, and experience of the protagonist. All these have definitely inspired many. This minuscule two hundred and eight paged novel has the power to change the perspectives and minds of the future.
The best lesson that is learned is that the truth will always endure. One can always break the monotony. Whether you want it to happen or not, your success will always have a rippling effect. It is good to be unrealistic. That way you can see some far-fetched goals, for which you will start working. Since we are humans, straying from the path is foreseen. But remember to always get back to reality and focus on a singular path. This way we all say “ it is what it is”, the same we must embrace reality.
These are all the lessons that we learn from the novel. But the biggest takeaway and the whole point of The Alchemist is; all individuals should live to pursue their goals and dreams. Not get affected by any other. Or try and follow the mob.
Some readers find themselves in a fix. On one hand, the wholesomeness of the novel exists. While on the other they find it overrated. Some also find it inspirational yet shallow. For some who are unable to leave their families, this novel was somewhat alien to them. As the protagonist is a self-reliant young boy, such an outbound attitude is perceived to be revoluting.
All in all, such a book is accepted worldwide for its realistic and absolutely truthfully life lessons!
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