Paulo Coelho's Alchemist
Sometimes in life, when a person wants something with enough passion, everything seems to go perfectly accordingly to how it was planned. Paulo Coelho, the author of the Alchemist, calls this desire a personal legend. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their personal legend is, and at that point in their lives everything is clear and possible. However, as time goes on, a mysterious force seems to blind us of achieving that goal. Through Santiago, the main character, and his attempts at reaching his personal legend, we can be reminded of our own personal legends and become more aware of everything around us.
When the story begins, we find Santiago as a young shepherd whose life is spent fulfilling his passion of traveling by herding his sheep through the fields and towns of Spain. He wakes one night in the middle of a re-occurring dream of discovering a buried treasure at the Pyramids of Egypt. After Santiago has his dream, he is soon visited by Melchizedek, the mysterious King of Salem, who tells him that soon after someone realizes their personal legend, all of the universe conspires in helping them achieve it, but only for a little while. After embarking upon his trip to Egypt, all of his money is stolen, leaving him with nothing. He must now struggle against not losing sight of his dream and his destiny.
The forces that keep Santiago in sight of his personal legend are not determination, but trust, fascination, and wonder. A scene that shows these attributes comes after Santiago leaves a comfortable oasis in Egypt, to attend to his dream once more. As he pauses in the desert, a horseman dressed in black rushes him, with a sword raised to kill. "Who dares read the meaning of the flight of the hawks?" he demanded. He does not flee nor does he attempt to fight and protect himself. Instead, Santiago bows his head for the blow and says, "It is I who dare to do so. Many lives will be saved because I was able to see through to the soul of the world." The man in the black slowly lowers his sword and explains to Santiago that he is the Alchemist. The things that Santiago learns from the relationship that...