Imagery in the first words Dusk was falling as the boy arrived with his herd at the abandoned church The roof had fallen in long ago and an enormous sycamore had grown on the spot where the sacristy had once stood Coelho 5 The opening lines the The Alchemist paint a detailed picture of an old abandoned church with a young shepherd resting inside The setting sun in the background gives the scene a more dramatic image Instead of a peaceful image of a rising sun representing birth and creation the reader is presented with the image a setting sun representing death Now the reader imagines a broken church with death looming in the background and the large sycamore trying to push out an image of life from the sacristy of the church The reader is only left to wonder what the multiple images a death and destruction mean for the young shepherd and why there is so little life left in a place once built to celebrate life itself The reader can try to interpret what the author was implying by this opening use of imagery and they may as I have conclude that the shepherd has either lost someone or something deeply important to him or that he will lose something later down the line that will greatly affect the outcome of his story
2 The introduction of a main theme You came so that you could learn about your dreams said the old woman And dreams are the language of God When he speaks in our language I can interpret what he has said But if he speaks in the language of the soul it is only you who can understand Coelho 15 After the main character Santiago has experienced a recurring dream of a child that guides him to a hidden treasure located near the Egyptian Pyramids he seeks out a fortune teller to help him interpret the dream The old fortune teller provides Santiago with these enlightening words that give him a brief yet important understanding of how much his life is about to change This quote introduces the theme that God and spirituality will play throughout the book The fortune teller is intrigued by Santiago s strange dreams and while the reader may interpret them to be an odd naturally recurring dreams while the fortune teller interprets them as direct messages from God himself The fortune teller s description of why Santiago is seeing these images in his dreams indirectly informs the reader of the importance the themes of religion and God and how they will be a major part to the story of The Alchemist 3 The World's Greatest Lie It's A book that says the same thing almost all other books in the world say it ends up saying that everyone believes the world's greatest lie What's the world's greatest lie the boy asked It s this that at a certain point in our lives we lose control of what's happening to us and our lives become controlled by fate That s the world's greatest lie Coelho 20 As Santiago reads his new book in the village square an old man approaches him and questions him about the book To Santiago s surprise the old man knows exactly what book he is reading The old man explains that he does not appreciate or like the book because it does one thing that nearly all books do That one thing is that the book spreads the world's greatest lie
The old man explains to Santiago that the lie is expressed very simply as humans cannot choose what happens throughout their lives and that what their lives consist of is entirely determined by fate itself This analysis of Santiago s book and most books contributing to the spread of the world's greatest lie open a path for the reader to find Coelho s main goal of attempting to silence and end all belief of this lie and for us to believe that we are not solely controlled by fate and that we are able to make our own decisions and decide what we want with our lives 4 Fulfillment of destiny To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation Coelho 24 The strange old man who is now known as Melchizedek explains to Santiago the importance of humans being able to fulfill their Personal Legends Melchizedek describes someone s personal legend as either a dream or a wish that a person chooses to fulfill The biggest problem with this however is that people often fail at achieving their Personal Legends and quickly give up on them as they grow older Melchizedek expresses the importance of one's Personal
Legend and how every child grows up with a dream that is inevitably lost to the coming of age He stresses to Santiago that if people were able to fulfill their childhood dreams they would be able to live the happiest and most satisfied life that is possible for them A Personal Legend is described to be an obligation of everyone to complete in their lives and that a single Personal Legend is powerful enough to impact the whole world and not just the person who completes the challenge 5 God's Path In order to find the treasure you will have to follow the omens God has prepared a path for everyone to follow You just have to read the omens that he left for you Coelho 31 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
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