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Oppositions: An Analysis Of Juxtaposition In The Alchemist

613 words - 3 pages

In The Alchemist Paulo Coelho presents a character, Santiago, torn between following tradition and his Personal Legend. Santiago tries to live true to his Personal Legend, which is a path pursued by those who strive to fulfill their purpose in life. Yet throughout the novel tradition, a motif, presents itself as a roadblock holding Santiago back from reaching his dreams. Coelho juxtaposes tradition against Personal Legend to illustrate its purely individual nature and the necessity of the acceptance of change to reach one’s dreams and goals.
Coelho contrasts tradition with Personal Legend to illustrate the individual nature of the pursuit to discover one’s goals and dreams. Tradition stands as a very powerful force that makes Santiago hesitate his quest to fulfill his Personal Legend. The fear of breaking tradition holds people back from living true to their dreams since, “We always observe the tradition” (Coelho 107). Tradition involves practices of older generations and the ...view middle of the document...

..Parents would rather see their children marry bakers than shepherds...in the long run what people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important then their own Personal Legends” (Coelho, 23). But Santiago, unlike the Baker, overcomes the burden of following tradition and instead strives to follow an individual path of his own. Coelho juxtaposed tradition with Personal Legend to show that when one is too focused on sticking to tradition he will never accomplish his Personal Legend.
Furthermore by juxtaposing tradition with Personal Legend, Coelho shows that Personal Legend and change go hand in hand. Coelho suggests that stagnancy has no positive effects and that change is the root of successes. The cemented, unchanging tradition stands juxtaposed against the quest for Personal Legend, which involves the acceptance and greeting of change. This ideology is illustrated in the character of the Crystal Merchant, a man at first wary to change anything about his business, even though it is failing. The Crystal Merchant states, “I don’t much like change...we two have to live with our mistakes” (Coelho, 53). Yet when Santiago urges him to alter parts of his business, the Crystal Merchant becomes rewarded with riches and success. Showing that when one is to focused on aligning themselves with tradition, they will not thrive. Coelho juxtaposes tradition and Personal Legend to show that breaking tradition and is required to live true to oneself.
Coelho juxtaposes tradition with Personal Legend to illustrate a deeper point within the text, that to follow one’s Personal Legend he must accept change and acknowledge that individuality is necessary in a path to achieve goals and dreams. Change is essential and needs to be accepted, as well as seen as a blessing in fulfilling one’s Personal Legend. Moreover, one must also acknowledge that to be successful they must forge their own path to achieve their
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Personal Legend, breaking tradition. Coelho exemplifies the difficulty of achieving Personal Legend through juxtaposition.

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