The Alchemist Essay

1197 words - 5 pages

When analyzing the importance of the structure and substance of a work of literature, people often times make the blunder of only putting emphasis on the substance. Instead of regarding the substance and structure of a novel as two vastly different things, they should think of them as a Christmas tree. If the structure was the bare pine tree, then the substance would be all the ornaments used to decorate the tree, and together they are a Christmas tree. But without the tree itself, the Christmas tree would not exist, for there would be no place for the ornaments to hang on. (Terlaje) In the same way, the substance of a story is dependent on the structure, because the structure lays down the ...view middle of the document...

So it would be accurate to make the notion that when a novel parallels another story that preceded it, the story somewhat becomes what it alluded to. The Alchemist is choked full of allusions and parallels that make reference to important events and characters in distinguished stories, most especially biblical parables. One of the most clearly indicated allusion in the novel was that of Melchizedek. As stated in the bible, Melchizedek was the King of Salem, and blessed Abraham when he returned from battle. In return for the blessing, Abraham gave Melchizedek one-tenth of his battle winnings. In the same way, when Santiago was trying to uncover more things about his treasure, the old man waged a similar bargain and told Santiago, “If you want to learn about your personal treasure, you will have to give me one-tenth of your flock.” (The Alchemist) Paulo Coelho made an allusion to the blessing of Abraham by Melchizedek of the bible when he had Melchizedek bless Santiago before he embarked on his journey. Furthermore, if one were to analyze The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree and compare it to The Alchemist, they would find many reoccurring parallels between the two. In The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree, the man says to the vinedresser, “Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?” (The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree) However, just in time, the vinedresser convinces the man to wait it out and if the tree did not grow anything in the next year, that the gardener should go forth with his plans. Akin to The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree, there were countless times throughout the course of Santiago’s journey where Santiago was about to give up, but someone always persuaded him otherwise. So since The Alchemist had made any references to parables, it has in essence become a parable too.
"An archetype is a reoccurring symbol, character, landscape, or event found in myth and literature across different cultures and eras." (Definitions Handout) They are images constructed by the human mind whose form varies depending on the culture they personify, while still retaining similar aspects. Throughout Paulo Coelho's world renowned novel, The Alchemist, the usage of archetypes is so evident that even the name in itself is an archetype. However, for an individual to thoroughly articulate that notion, one must delineate what an alchemist essentially is. So with that being stated, an alchemist...

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