The Alchemist – A Fable about Following your Dreams,

This was the book that made Paul Coelho, a Brazilian author, a well-renowned figure in his field. The book traces the adventures and life of Santiago, a Spanish shepherd who follows an ordinary life at first. But then he has repeated visions of a treasure that is buried in Egypt and goes on a journey to fulfil, what he thinks and omens indicate, as his destiny. Coelho’s character portrayal is very subtle and implicit. He does not use a lot of blatant adjectives. I feel that Paulo Coelho has an innate ability to sound wise and sagacious. He develops the story in a very commonplace way at first, until the boy actually reaches Africa. That is where the true wisdom and wonders of the book commence.

Coelho uses a horde of metaphors and rhetoric devices. He makes use of symbolisms and imageries and sounds very profound and astute, thanks to such literary devices that add to the book’s richness. By using the parallel between gold and people who have fulfilled their destiny, he sends a powerful message to the reader that if he wants the ultimate happiness, there is nothing that can make his life more meaningful than following his true dream and destiny. He uses the character of the Alchemist who is portrayed as an erudite sage, who teaches Santiago, the most important lessons of life and guides him along his way to reach his destiny in Egypt. In the end, Santiago realises that his treasure was right where he had started off, near Tarifa, beneath the big sycamore tree in the abandoned church. I feel that this was the anti-climax and came as a bit of a let-down.

I feel that Paulo Coelho spins a very well-thought and inspiring yarn very skilfully with apt twists and turns. In a way, the author also advocates the saying that “We travel the world looking for the one thing that we want until we find it right there at home”. Mainly, he is trying to teach every reader a very valuable and much-needed lesson in today’s pragmatic world, that one should follow one’s dreams. Today, it seems that everyone is in a mad rush to make the most money, shoving passion, dreams and love aside. Coelho reminds us that the happiest people are the ones who knew their dream and passion. They devoted their lives to achieve that, and most of them did realise their dreams.

It is a very inspiring novel and I feel personally that it is life-changing. Everyone has something to learn from this masterpiece. In my life, I faced a situation where I had a choice of either following the popular route of making money while drudging away in your whole life or following your dream valiantly and trying to fulfil your destiny. I chose the path that Coelho tries to show us, by becoming something that you love and not being someone just for making money. I feel that Coelho had a profound influence on me in more than one way.

Sainyam Gautam

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