Applyiing How to Read Literature to the Alchemist

1592 Words Sep 14th, 2012 7 Pages
Kiley Dempsey
Ms. Jones
Honors Tenth Grade Literature Composition
04 September 2012
Santiago's Journey
How to Read Literature like a Professor, by Thomas C. Foster, is like painting a picture; with painting the first step is to paint inside the lines, but an advanced artist understands that a picture is made up of not just color, texture, and shapes, but also considers the purpose behind each stroke. Foster brings a different meaning to reading a book and draws attention to the author and his or her intention. While applying Fosters teaching's to Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, the main character, Santiago's journey becomes more than a journey- it turns into a quest. Simple drinks and foods turn symbolic into acts of communion and while
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Santiago knows that he is the protege and the Alchemist is his mentor, they have respect for each other “How characters are getting along or not getting along” (Foster 80). Drinking wine in a foreign country where it is illegal, is an act of unity and also “Whenever people eat or drink together, it's communion” (Foster 8). To Foster, “Breaking bread is an act of sharing and peace” (8) Santiago and the Alchemist would not have shared their last meal together on the Oasis if they had not wanted a peaceful environment before their journey to come.
At one point, weather becomes vital to Santiago's survival. Santiago and the Alchemist were traveling through the desert to get to the pyramids when they came across tribesman. The tribesman believe that Santiago and the Alchemist are spies. The Alchemist explains that he is “A guide to his friend” (Coelho 139). The tribesman are still curious and proceed to ask about Santiago. The Alchemist says Santiago is an “Alchemist and he understands the forces of nature and wants to show them his extraordinary powers” (Coelho 139). The Alchemist continues explaining that “If he wanted to, he could destroy this camp just with the forces of the wind” (Coelho 140). Santiago spends the next three days trying to control the wind, on the third day the chief came to him wanting to see him turn himself into the wind. Finally, when Santiago and the wind start to talk, Foster's point of
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