Paulo Coelho's The Pilgrimage: A Unique Search for the Meaningful
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There is no denying the fact that Paulo Coelho with more than a dozen novels to his credit has emerged as a contemporary literary figure of international repute. The Pilgrimage marks his entry into the world of fiction with a bang followed by a big bang in the form of his most popular novel The Alchemist. No doubt, The Alchemist has earned him immense popularity far and wide and established him as a novelist of consummate skill. His other novels which include The Valkyries, Like the Flowing River, By the River Pedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobellow, The Devil and Miss Prym, The Fifth Mountain, Eleven Minutes and Manual of the Warrior of Light flowed from his pen in quick succession and succeeded to capture the…show more content… The master’s revelation drives the protagonist to give farewell to all his assignments in Brazil so as to dedicate himself to a sincere quest of the sword.
At the outset of his long journey to Santiago, the protagonist stays in the French city of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and holds a meeting with an old woman named Mme Lourdes who having entered his name in the register of those who walk the Road to Santiago tells him, “Your road and stopping places will depend on decisions made by your guide.”1 Mme Lourdes, like India’s saintly persons, underlines the role of guide as indispensable to his success in the pilgrimage. Placing the palms of her hands on his head, she says, “May you obey the one who is your guide, even though he may issue an order that is homicidal, blasphemous, or senseless. You must swear total obedience to your guide.” (18) Two kilometer outside of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port the protagonist meets Petrus, his guide under whose guidance he is destined to cover a distance of seven hundred kilometers for reaching his destination. To address the protagonist’s doubts with regard to the competence of the guide, Petrus says, “I am going to teach you some exercises and some rituals that are known as the practices. All of us, at some time in our lives, have made use of at least one of them. Every one of these practices, without exception, can be discovered by anyone who is willing to seek them out, with