The Alchemist Analysis
The Alchemist Analysis Paper The world is a puzzle, and every object, idea, thought, and emotion is a puzzle piece. Without one puzzle piece the puzzle can never be complete, much like allegory. Jonathan Terlaje taken from a source to lecture that allegory is a system in which various items work cohesively to show the “meaning beyond the literal level” (“Alchemist Analysis Notes”; “Fables and Parables: From Symbols to Allegory? ”). Everything in the narrative is a symbol that relates to other symbols within the story” and “can be read either literally or as a symbolic statement about a political, spiritual, or psychological truth”, like The Holy Bible. (“Fables and Parables: From Symbols to Allegory? ”). With the comprehension of the system of allegory, one is able to say that Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is allegorical in numerous approaches and alludes to The Holy Bible for spiritual truth.
One interpretation of allegory is shown through the Santiago’s dream and jacket, which parallels Joseph’s dream from The Holy Bible, then the conflicts, trials, and perseverance of Santiago’s journey, and lastly, the archetypes of nature, which assisted Santiago to find the Will of God.
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Similar to Joseph, Santiago’s dream in The Alchemist is interpreted as “the language of God” (Coelho 12).
The Lord communicates with Santiago multiple times through Santiago’s dreams and helps Santiago foretell his Personal Legend, which as the woman has interpreted, “‘you must go to the Pyramids in Egypt…There you will find a treasure that will make you a rich man’” (Coelho 14). In the same way, God tells Joseph, through the dreams, about Joseph’s Personal Legend. “And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren… And he dreamed yet another dream and told it his brethren” (The Holy Bible, Gen. 37. 5; Gen. 37. 9). Santiago has dreamt about his dream twice, like Joseph, and the dreams are interpreted to show their future.
Furthermore, Joseph and Santiago believe in their dream and decide to follow it. To conclude, Paulo Coelho alludes to The Holy Bible to show that Santiago is no different from Joseph and that God has guided Santiago like He has for Joseph. In relation to Joseph, Santiago has a jacket that he carries around as he travels. [H]e gathered his jacket closer to his boy… The heat lasted until nightfall, and all that time he had to carry his jacket. But when he thought to complain about the burden of its weight, he remembered that, because he had the jacket, he had withstood the cold of the dawn.
We have to be prepared for change, he thought, and he was grateful for the jacket’s weight and warmth. (Coelho 8). Joseph also has a jacket, one given from his father, but the jacket is a ponderous burden, as well. For “when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him” and later they “sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver” (The Holy Bible Gen. 37. 4; Gen 37. 28). The jacket foreshadows and symbolizes the arduous hardship, but Santiago, later, is grateful for the hardships, like he is for the jacket.
After he was “bruised and bleeding”, he “stood up shakily, and looked once more at the Pyramids. They seemed to laugh at him, and he laughed back, his heart busting with joy”, “[b]ecause now he knew where his treasure was” (Coelho 163). Thus, burdens may be hard, but the end is rewarding. Joseph confronts various downfalls, which seems that God did not seem to guide or care for Joseph any longer. Santiago is no different and “[h]e wept because God was unfair, and because this was the way God repaid those who believed in their dreams” (Coelho 39). [T]he journey is used to send the Hero in search of information or some intellectual truth” (Melendez) Although Santiago is not as strong in faith as Joseph, both are able to endure the hardship. Continuing, in search for his treasure, Santiago faces many difficulties that, supposedly, hinder him from achieving his Personal Destiny, such as the encounter with the thief. “But now, as the sun began to set, he was in a different country, a stranger in a strange land, where he couldn’t even speak the language. He was no longer a shepherd, and he had nothing, not even the money to return and start everything over (Coelho 39).
Although certain times Santiago seem to completely let go of the dream, especially during his time with the crystal merchant, the miniscule spark of hope and dream holds strong in his soul. Santiago did not want to stay in a seminary, because he wanted to travel. “I couldn’t have found God in the seminary, he thought, as he looked at the sunrise” (Coelho 10). Ironically, Santiago is right. “The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness… To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one” (Coelho 22).
Throughout the whole journey, both, nature and God, is beside him. The “wind has always characterized revolution, change, upheaval” (Kubota), and as Santiago transformed, the wind would follow. The Sun archetype is “the Universal Mind transformed down into the physical dimension as individual ego and biological life force”, which is “the creative spark at the center of our beings that is ultimately the Divine incarnated into the biological realm, as us”, keeping humans, in this case, Santiago close to God (Butler).
Nature and God is waiting for him to recognize the truth of alchemy: “It’s true everything has its Personal Legend, but one day that Personal Legend will be realized. So each thing has to transform itself into something better, and to acquire a new Personal Legend, until, someday, the Soul of the World becomes one thing only. ” (Coelho150) Once Santiago has realized the truth, he “reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God.
And he perceived that the Soul of God was his own soul” (Coelho 152). The journey to find Santiago’s Personal Legend became a fragment of his journey to find God. Thus, Santiago alludes to Joseph in The Holy Bible with certain characteristics, such as the burden of the jacket, which symbolizes Santiago’s burden he must carry throughout his journey, but which he is thankful. Secondly, Santiago did not want to continue, because of God’s treatment toward those who want to pursue their Personal Legend.
Nevertheless, Santiago, in the end, found that every trial he went through brought him to his treasure. Lastly, Santiago could not find God, but when he pursued his Personal Legend and became a par of the Soul of the World, he realized that his soul was the Soul of God. The Alchemist is allegorical by using a system that uses various items, seen above, to cohesively show: “Without pursuing one’s Personal Legend, one is unable to find one’s soul. Furthermore, other methods and approaches to present The Alchemist as an allegorical literary work, like Santiago as a hero figure along with the David Leeming, The Voyage of the Hero to show heroic traits to overcome and diligently strive to achieve his Personal Legend. For example, Santiago’s “Childhood Trial”, “Withdrawal and Initiation (Rite of Passage)”, and “Trial and Quest” is used to show: “Heroic traits assert oneself and leads one to one’s goal. ” In other words, there are, certainly, other assorted methods to prove that “The Alchemist is allegorical. ”