Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist And Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken

1115 words - 4 pages

The most significant journeys are always the ones that transform us, from which we emerge changed in some way. In Paulo Coelho’s modern classic novel The Alchemist, and Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, the journey that is undertaken by the central exponents leaves both with enlightening knowledge that alters their lives irrevocably. In stark contradiction to this, Ivan Lalic’s poem Of Eurydice , delves into the disruptive and negative force of knowledge, in contrast to The Alchemist which details an antithesis of this point relative to knowledge. In all journeys, the eventuality of knowledge is a transformative one.

The knowledge and universal understanding derivative from a journey can leave the traveller positively enlightened. In Coelho’s story, Santiago is faced with recurring dreams which lead him to ‘’traverse the unknown’’ in search of a treasure buried in Egypt, the metaphor for universal connection, and in doing so, comes to the unrelenting realisation of spiritual transcendence. After arriving at the assumed geographical location of the treasure ‘’several figures approached him’’. They demand the boy keep searching for this treasure as they are poor refugees and in need of money, but as Santiago does, he finds nothing. Then, after relentless digging through the night ‘’as the sun rose, the men began to beat the boy’’ , finally relenting with the truth, Santiago reveals his dreams to the travellers. In doing so, Santiago finds out that these men had also been faced with recurring dreams measured around the place where the boy had undergone his own, both relative to hidden treasure. However the leader was ‘’not so stupid as to cross an entire desert just because of a recurrent dream’’. It is with this fact, that the boy ‘’now knows where his treasure was’’. Santiago is exonerated with this knowledge, the knowledge that treasure lies with your connection with your world, a spiritual transcendence above the physical realm. The metaphorical journey extends to the notion vast multitude of humans (i.e., the sheep that Santiago herded) know only the physical aspect of their existence. When an individual realizes his or her oneness with the universal soul, he or she sheds identification with the material world thereby raising consciousness higher to the purer spiritual realm. Santiago’s newly found knowledge leaves him thoroughly more sagacious, ushering in spiritually illuminative understanding.

Correspondingly, the walker in Robert Frost’s poem returns with an equally enlightening understanding that he shall ‘’be telling with a sigh’’. The walker is faced with the indecipherable decision of two roads and which one to ultimately travel, the extended metaphor of one’s life and the various choices therein. He must choose between roads that are ‘’just as fair’’ and come to a conclusion that can be recalled as positive ‘’ages and ages hence’’. The repetition of indecision throughout the first three stanzas circumstantiate the...

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