The Alchemist By John Coelho

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“As soon as you begin to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning.” Barbara Sher’s quote illustrates Paulo Coelho’s attempt in The Alchemist to raise the idea that individuals should pursue their Personal Legend and individual dreams. Coelhio uses a multitude of literary elements such as symbolism and setting as described by Thomas C. Foster in How to Read Literature Like a Professor. In The Alchemist, Coelho uses his characters as symbols to manifest his overall theme to engage in following your personal legend. The way Coelho’s illustrates his theme throughout his work can be interpreted as both realistic and problematic. Throughout Santiago’s journey along with personal experience, the reader can validate Coelho’s…show more content…
This symbolism becomes apparent while Santiago observes his flock and notices that the sheep never make any decisions and are only concerned with getting food and water. The sheep live simplistic lifestyles, just coexisting without making any hard decisions. Along with symbolism, Coelho uses the setting of his novel to build on his belief. The Alchemist takes place in a desert, where Santiago experiences unique difficulties when pursuing his personal legend. The desert becomes a metaphor for the obstacles and hardships that stand in the way of achieving one 's dreams. The importance of the setting of a literary work is emphasized by Foster when he states, “Geography can also define or even develop a character” (175). Coelho uses both symbolism and setting to support his overall belief of pursuing ones personal legend. Symbolism in The Alchemist develops the idea individuals should pursue their dreams or they will live a safe, boring life rather than fufilling their soul purpose in the world. Setting is used to signify that in pursuing your legend, you may face difficulties, but you should never stop pursuing your dreams as Santiago continued his pursuit. Not only does Coelho use symbolism and setting to further prove his theme, he uses his characters to manifest his notion. Santiago is the ideal individual who listens to omens in order to understand the language of the soul of the world and achieve his personal legend. Santiago

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