The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo Book Review
The Alchemist is a fictional adventure book written by Paul Coehlo. The main character, Santiago, is a shepherd that has constant dreams about his destiny and he runs into a few characters that eventually help him pursue his destiny. The king of Salem helped Santiago start his journey, “The Englishman” knew about Santiago’s motives, and the Alchemist helps Santiago with understanding the universe and helps him get closer to his destiny. The five main events in The Alchemist are when Santiago rested at an abandoned church with his flock of sheep, Santiago meeting the king of Salem, Santiago taking a caravan across the desert, Santiago getting captured by enemy militia and Santiago finally finding the treasure. The author develops the theme of following what your heart desires by having Santiago go through some hardships such as losing his money, traveling during a war, and getting captured by an Arab militia along his adventure.
Firstly, Santiago loses all of his money so he can’t travel to Egypt to find the treasure. Santiago travels to Tarifa to try and find a guide headed to the Sahara desert. He does eventually find someone who can help, but Santiago made a mistake of giving him all his money and while they were walking down the marketplace, Santiago had lost him and his money in the crowd of people. Eventually, Santiago did find himself a job with a crystal merchant up the hill of the marketplace, though it wasn’t making much money since it was up a hill and people wouldn’t climb up a hill to just see crystals. Santiago then tries to improve the business by serving tea in crystal cups because anyone that walks up the hill would of course want something to drink. After a few days, the shop was getting more customers. He was earning more money but he still had to work there for an entire year to get enough money. This helps develop the theme by having Santiago learn a lesson about trust.
Secondly, Santiago was traveling with a caravan but they had to stop at an Oasis because there was war and they could not travel any further until the war was over. The caravan does not want to risk an attack from the enemy militia so they have to stay at the Oasis. Overtime, Santiago had the thought of giving up his destiny as he is not able to pursue it at the current state he is in. Santiago then found a girl that he loved at the Oasis. He then thought to completely abandon what he was looking for and wanted to stay at the Oasis with the girl. If he were to do that, his life would feel incomplete because he did not find the treasure. On page 48, it says that one night at the Oasis, Santiago had met an alchemist. Later on he then decides to leave the Oasis to travel with the Alchemist to then pursue his destiny. This helps develop the theme by having Santiago experience some negativity and overcoming it.
Lastly, Santiago and the Alchemist get captured by an Arab militia. The Alchemist had told the militia that if Santiago can show them he can talk with the desert and wind, then they would be set free. The militia didn’t believe him but the alchemist had bribed them to give them time by giving their leader all of Santiago's money. It worked, but Santiago had lost all of his money again. “You gave them everything I had!’ the boy said… ‘Well what good would it be to you if you had to die?’ the alchemist answered.” This helps develop the theme of the book by having Santiago lose everything but still move along on his adventure.
The author develops the theme of following what your heart desires by having the main character go through some hardships along their adventure. To be able to read this book you’re going to have to understand the many morals that this book has included in it. It was sort of hard to make an essay on this since there are many morals/themes to base it off of. Though it was great to read. I kind of thought that some things in this book feel very relatable to me such as trying to follow what my heart desires. This book may interest someone who may consider themselves to be lost in this world.