Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is a book about a young farmer named Santiago who has a dream about wanting to go to the pyramids in Egypt. However, along the way he meets all these different characters that steer him in different directions or tell him different meanings or different things about his journey and basically, he is trying to figure out what this all means. The book is a simple book as far as themes, fantasy and concepts go, but I think that the deeper understanding of the book is where the heart of this entire book is, and I think the author did a great job expressing this.
The main character, Santiago is basically all of us we are all him in the sense that we’re all trying to figure out what we want to do with ourselves or try to understand a deeper understanding of where we’re headed or where we’re going, what our destiny is and I think his character development throughout the entire book is very classic. He wakes up after having this dream, doesn’t really know what he wants to do, tries to figure out everything, does the very natural things that people normally do in such circumstances, like trying to speak to someone to get advice or meeting someone and understanding what the whole experience of meeting that person is and I think that by the end of the book you really do see what personality he has. At the very end he’s very grown up, he really matures as a character and I think that’s really seen especially with every character he meets or every interaction that he has or any experience that he has throughout the book. Granted it is only a hundred and eighty pages so you’d think how an author can be able to create this entire character development in such short number of pages but really, it’s all about the experiences that he has and it’s very relatable with what he does. You may not be a farmer, but you’re still able to relate with him and I think that’s what makes his character so great throughout the book. He meets subsequent characters throughout his journey, the first one he meets is a Gypsy who tells him about his dream and how he needs to fulfill it. He ends up meeting a king who helps him understand that whatever happens he should be guided by the right thing and you know he gets these two stones that that help him determine what’s the truth behind everything and what he feels is right you know, these little things are represented throughout the book beautifully due to the way it’s written because it’s so simple. There’s a shopkeeper in the book that Santiago ends up meeting and spends two years working in the shop. I really liked the way the shopkeepers character was developed because you can tell that he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t understand why something is being done and then realizes what is being done. He is very practical and doesn’t like to take that many risks but when Santiago comes and creates this idea for him by creating his shop into a cafe instead of just a glassware shop this shopkeeper realizes that there is opportunity here and he has got to take it and it’s very similar to something that would happen in your own life, you’re able to relate to that character as well which is great.
Each character in this book helps you have that realization of what you’re doing in your own life or where you see yourself going. In that sense the character development of each of these characters is interesting because you think that you would only relate to one character whereas that’s not the case, you would actually have the ability to relate to all of the characters because they all have a certain trait that you either learn from or you feel you relate to them. They all are you in some shape or form and if they’re not you then you’re learning something from them. That’s why I think the character development in that sense is a little bit different because it’s not your typical thriller book, it’s not your typical romance novel where you have a character in the beginning and then it changes to something else or it’s not really developed in your typical novel sense. These characters are very metaphorical to how you feel as whatever you’re going through and that in your phase in life so I think also in that sense how you feel when you read this book can really change how you feel about the book and how you feel about the characters and I think whatever you get out of this book can be different and that’s in itself is beauty of this entire book. Every single person has a different understanding of this book and it’s really interesting when you finish reading the book and you start talking to your friends who have read the book, they all have a different kind of understanding or meaning, or they’ve taken something different out of it and I think that’s pretty incredible.
I also really enjoyed reading about the Englishman. He is one of the later characters that Santiago meets in the book. The Englishman portrays a very important role in the book. The vices of trying to acquire something without really understanding how to acquire it or having this deep desire for something but not really attaining it in the right way. I think that development was great as well in his relationship with Santiago. I think just in general all the characters and their relationship with Santiago is great and easy to understand. You can really tell how every meeting or encounter he has is a pivotal moment in Santiago’s life which is pretty insane because then you look at your own life and you’re like okay everything that I’ve ever accomplished or everything I’ve ever done has changed the way I’ve thought about something or the way I’ve accomplished something so I think that’s pretty amazing.
The writing structure is simple. The simple writing structure and language really helped the reader understand what the author was trying to get out of this book I think that is why the book is so simple. Trying to overcomplicate something like this would take away from the whole meaning of the book. The book tries to maintain a metaphor throughout and I think difficult and to not necessarily write in metaphors but maintain a level of certain type of feeling throughout the book is difficult. To try and get that out there to the public, it’s important that your structure is simple and that’s exactly what this book is and that’s why it’s so short and it’s a very simple and quick read. It is a very enjoyable read because there isn’t too much to think about and you’re just going with the flow so it’s very simple which is what I really liked about it.
It is just a great book, it really opened up a lot of ideas in my head of what I was feeling and it just brought out a lot of thoughts that I didn’t really think about before, so in that sense I think it is a great gift to give to somebody who is either lost or trying to figure out what their purpose is or even just if they know what they’re doing sometimes you need guidance and I think this book is a great at guiding you so you should pick it up if you haven’t read it, it’s a great book I’m surprised it took me so long to read but I guess it happens you know some books you just read when you’re supposed to read it and that’s exactly what this book was for me.