The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janiero in 1947 and before his career as a
best-selling author, he was a playwright, theater director, hippie, and popular
songwriter for some of Brazil’s leading pop artists. In 1986 he took a
pilgrimage along that Road of Santiago and this would be the center of the
plot of the book, The Pilgrimage, which was published in 1987. His second
book was named The Alchemist and was published in 1988. This book has
gone to number one in 29 countries and Coelho has been regarded as the most
widely read contemporary writers. The Alchemist was one of the top ten
international best sellers of 1998. His work has been published in more than
100 countries and is translated into 42 different languages. He has been
awarded a variety of prestigious awards from many different countries. He
today lives in South America with his family.

The story begins when the shepherd boy stopped for the night in a
church with a sycamore tree growing out of the middle. He told of the easy
going life of the shepherd and how his parents had wanted him to become a
priest. He went to all the schooling, but at the last minute he changed his
mind. He wanted to see the world and he felt that the best way to do this was
to become a shepherd. He said that the life of a shepherd is easy and carefree
and he felt like this was the way he wanted to live. He was anticipating seeing
the daughter of a man who would buy the wool from his sheep when he
arrived in the town that he would come to in another couple of days. He
thought that he might actually settle down and get married to this girl if she
would like to. He had been having a recurring dream about him at the
pyramids in Egypt. There he would be able to find all of the treasure in the
world 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 asked
her if she could help him out with is problem. She was unclear about what to
do, but she made him promise to give him a percentage of his treasure if he
ever found it. When he left the fortuneteller, he went and sat in the park to
read his new book. He was not in the mood for talking with others when the
old king approached him and tried to strike up a conversation with him. He
told the boy that everyone has a personal legend that he has to fulfill at some
time in his life. He tells him that his could be found at the pyramids because
of 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 never
promise anything that you don’t have yet. He sold all of his sheep and he was
given ummim and thummim, the two rocks that would help him make any
decisions that he was unable to make.
Then off he went down the road and traveled to the northern tip of
Africa. From there he left with all of his money in his pocket and set to a bar
where he didn’t speak the same language as any of the people there. He was
taken for a fool and all of his money was taken in the first few hours. He
stayed in the town for a while and he went into a shop that sold crystal. He
helped the man to clean all of the crystal and while he was there, two people
came in and bought crystal. The owner thought that this was a good omen and
that he should try to keep the boy around. Since he didn’t have any money he
stayed on for eleven months and greatly improved the man’s shop. When he
finally left he had enough money to do with what he wanted and he set off to
fulfill his personal legend. He traveled to the pyramids by way of northern
Africa. About half way through his trip he came onto an oasis that was in the
middle of a war between two native tribes. The rules of war said that the
oasis should be a safe haven for all of the people that were traveling through
the desert. This is where he met the alchemist, the man that would help him to
realize his personal legend. By going off into the desert at night, he learned all
about the masterwork and the many things that he needed to do in order to
become a true alchemist. He began to have a dream about a group of rebels
attacking the oasis because they thought that the travelers would be taking up
arms against them. The boy went to the men who were in charge of the oasis
and told them of the impending doom that was coming onto the oasis. They
didn’t believe that this dream was an omen but they gave him one shot. The
rebels did attack and they were able to fend off all of the assailants. The boy
was hailed as a hero and he went off into the desert to seek his personal
legend. Here he was forced to make a decision about whether or not to leave
behind the woman that he met and decided to marry. He said that he would
return later and he did. This was after he found out about the treasure he
yearned for. He finally figured out that his treasure was in the sycamore tree
that was growing out of the middle of an old church. He returned to his
homeland and had his treasure intact and was able to live happily ever after.
The shepard was able to live happily ever after because of the
experiences that shaped his life. He went through many things on his trip and
discovered that his life was his treasure. The beauty of the world was his
personal legend not some chest of gold. These events changed his out look on
life 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 ended
up finding only the treasure he had inside. He went from being a dreamer to a
humbled being only capable of loving life for what it was. He was no longer
intrested 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 upon
materialistic 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 all
that matters and all that exists. Money is the root of all evil and humans only
add to that by never realizing its true impact on life. The poorest people or
many times richer than the wealthiest. Why do we continue to work towards
being rich when we already are? If as human beings we could look past
differences and stature we would better the world as a whole. This is
something everyone needs to try. I know that if I could just change a small
amount of my thinking into this manner I would become a better person. Not
only to others but to myself as well.


Bibliography:
The Alchemist:by Paul Coelho